Solar Power Inverters

The solar inverter performs the conversion of the variable DC output of the PV cells into a clean sinusoidal 50- or 60 Hz current.

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Design Considerations

Solar Power Inverter

The solar inverter is a critical component in a solar energy system. It performs the conversion of the variable DC output of the Photovoltaic (PV) module(s) into a clean sinusoidal 50- or 60 Hz AC current that is then applied directly to the commercial electrical grid or to a local, off-grid electrical network. Typically, communications capability is included so users can monitor the inverter and report on power and operating conditions, provide firmware updates and control the inverter grid connection. Depending on the grid infrastructure wired (RS-485, CAN, Power Line Communication, Ethernet) or wireless (Bluetooth, ZigBee/IEEE802.15.4, 6loWPAN) networking options can be used.

At the heart of the inverter is a real-time microcontroller. The controller executes the very precise algorithms required to invert the DC voltage generated by the solar module into AC. This controller is programmed to perform the control loops necessary for all the power management functions necessary including DC/DC and DC/AC. The controller also maximizes the power output from the PV through complex algorithms called maximum power point tracking (MPPT). The PV maximum output power is dependent on the operating conditions and varies from moment to moment due to temperature, shading, soilage, cloud cover, and time of day so tracking and adjusting for this maximum power point is a continuous process. For systems with battery energy storage, the controller can control the charging as well as switch over to battery power once the sun sets or cloud cover reduces the PV output power. The controller contains advanced peripherals like high precision PWM outputs and ADCs for implementing control loops. The ADC measures variables, such as the PV output voltage and current, and then adjusts the DC/DC or DC/AC converter by changing the PWM duty cycle.

C2000™ microcontrollers which are uniquely suited for solar power applications, in particular are designed to read the ADC and adjust the PWM within a single clock cycle, so real time control is possible. Communications on a simple system can be handled by a single processor, more elaborate systems with complex displays and reporting on consumption and feed-in-tariff pay back may require a secondary processor, potentially with Ethernet capability like Tiva™ C microcontrollers or F28M3x C28x™ + ARM® microcontrollers. For safety reasons, isolation between the processor and the current and voltage is also required, as well as on the communications bus to the outside world.

The Safety MCUs offer an ARM Cortex-R4F based solution and are certified suitable for use in systems that need to achieve IEC61508 SIL-3 safety levels. These MCUs also offer integrated floating point, 12 bit ADCs, motor-control-specific PWMs and encoder inputs via its flexible HET Timer co-processor. Hercules Safety MCUs can also be used to implement scalar and vector-control techniques and support a range of performance requirements.

Application Notes (15)

Title Abstract Type Size (KB) Date Views
HTM 8 KB 23 Jul 2013 3987
HTM 8 KB 16 Jan 2013 2968
HTM 8 KB 09 Jul 2012 2948
HTM 9 KB 29 May 2012 2515
HTM 8 KB 24 Jan 2011 214
HTM 8 KB 29 Dec 2010 423
HTM 9 KB 21 Sep 2009 2039
HTM 8 KB 19 Aug 2008 1780
HTM 8 KB 25 Oct 2007 623
HTM 9 KB 26 Jul 2007 875
HTM 8 KB 20 Dec 2006 1403
HTM 9 KB 05 May 2006 2455
HTM 9 KB 20 Jul 2005 1482
HTM 9 KB 19 Jul 2005 383
HTM 9 KB 07 Jun 2004 460

Reference Designs

Description Part Number Company Tool Type
CC1101EM 315 and 433MHz Reference Design CC1101EM433_REFDES Texas Instruments Reference Designs
CC1101EM 868 and 915MHz Reference Design CC1101EM868-915_REFDES Texas Instruments Reference Designs
CC1110EM 315MHz Reference Design CC1110EM315_REFDES Texas Instruments Reference Designs
CC1110EM 433MHz Reference Design CC1110EM433_REFDES Texas Instruments Reference Designs

Selection and Solution Guides

Solution Guides (2)

Title Abstract Type Size (KB) Date Views
PDF 4.31 MB 15 Jan 2014 13245
PDF 409 KB 10 Jan 2011 3321

Tools and Software

Name Part # Company Software/Tool Type
Concerto-based Solar Explorer Development Kit TMDSSOLARCEXPKIT Texas Instruments Evaluation Modules & Boards
High Voltage Isolated Solar MPPT Developers Kit TMDSHVMPPTKIT Texas Instruments Evaluation Modules & Boards
High Voltage Single Phase Inverter Development Kit TMDSHV1PHINVKIT Texas Instruments Evaluation Modules & Boards
Piccolo-based Solar Explorer Development Kit TMDSSOLARPEXPKIT Texas Instruments Evaluation Modules & Boards
Solar Micro Inverter Development Kit TMDSSOLARUINVKIT Texas Instruments Evaluation Modules & Boards

Product Bulletin & White Papers

Product Bulletin (2)

Title Abstract Type Size (MB) Date Views
PDF 1.31 MB 23 May 2014 4194
PDF 475 KB 31 Jan 2013 1300

White Papers (4)

Title Abstract Type Size (MB) Date Views
PDF 393 KB 27 Jun 2014 5967
PDF 1.07 MB 28 May 2014 1321
PDF 1.73 MB 03 Aug 2012 2013
PDF 103 KB 07 Apr 2010 692

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