Main Content

PV Home On-Grid Solar System

This example shows the operation of a photovoltaic (PV) residential system connected to the electrical grid.

PV Strings

The PV strings section implements a home installation of six PV array blocks in series that can produce 2400 W of power at a solar irradiance of 1000 W/m2. In the Advanced tab of the PV blocks, the robust discrete model method is selected, and a fixed operating temperature is set to 25 degrees C.

Two-Stage Converter

The power produced by the PV strings is fed to the house and utility grid using a two-stage converter: a boost DC-DC converter and a single-phase DC-AC full-bridge converter. Both converters are PWM-controlled with a switching frequency of 20 kHz. They are using the Switching Function method with PWM pulse averaging, allowing a simulation sample time of 5 microseconds and good accuracy on harmonics generated.

Control Systems

  • The MPPT Controller: The Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) controller is based on the Perturb and Observe technique with scanning capability. The MPPT system automatically varies the duty cycle of the boost converter to generate the required voltage across the PV string in order to extract maximum power. Under partial shading condition, a duty cycle is initiated to find the global maximum power point (GMPP) among various local maximum power points (LMPP).

  • The Inverter Controller: The inverter control maintain the DC link voltage at 400 V while keeping a unity power factor. The controller uses a voltage regulator outer loop and a fast inner loop current regulator to generate the appropriate reference voltage (Vref) for the PWM generator controlling the full-bridge converter.

Load & Utility Grid

The grid is modeled using a typical pole-mounted transformer and an ideal AC source of 14.4 kVrms. The transformer 240 volt secondary winding is center-tapped and the central neutral wire is grounded. The inverter, the 2500 W residential load as well as the neighbors' load are connected to the 240V secondary winding.


Run the simulation and observe the resulting signals on the various scopes.

(1) At 0.25s, with a solar irradiance of 1000 W/m2 on all PV modules, steady state is reached. The solar system generates 2400 Watts and the DC link is maintained at 400 volts with a small 120-Hz ripple due to the single-phase power extracted from the PV string. The Utility meter indicates that the system takes almost no power from the grid to supply the home total load. (2) At 0.3s, a partial shading condition is created by reducing the irradiance on some PV modules. When steady-state is reached at 0.35s, the MPPT controller has set the boost duty cycle at 0.44, generating a PV string voltage of 225 V. With this voltage, 920 W is extracted from the PV string. As you can see on the PV curve characteristic, the system is operating at a local maximum power point but not at the global maximum power point. (3) At 0.4s, a duty cycle scan of 0.25 seconds is performed by the MPPT controller to find the GMPP point. (4) At 0.7s, the MPPT controller has set the boost duty cycle at 0.58 generating a PV string voltage of 168 V. With this voltage, 1364 W is extracted from the PV string which is the GMPP value. The Utility meter indicates that it takes now around 1100 W (2500 W residential load - 1364 W supplied by PV) from the grid to supply the home total load.