Impact of Distributed Power Electronics on the Lifetime and Reliability of PV Systems

Christopher Deline, Carlos Olalla, Dragan Maksimovic, Luis Martinez-Salamero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus Citations


This paper quantifies the impact of distributed power electronics in photovoltaic (PV) systems in terms of end-of-life energy-capture performance and reliability. The analysis is based on simulations of PV installations over system lifetime at various degradation rates. It is shown how module-level or submodule-level power converters can mitigate variations in cell degradation over time, effectively increasing the system lifespan by 5–10 years compared with the nominal 25-year lifetime. An important aspect typically overlooked when characterizing such improvements is the reliability of distributed power electronics, as power converter failures may not only diminish energy yield improvements but also adversely affect the overall system operation. Failure models are developed, and power electronics reliability is taken into account in this work, in order to provide a more comprehensive view of the opportunities and limitations offered by distributed power electronics in PV systems. It is shown how a differential power-processing approach achieves the best mismatch mitigation performance and the least susceptibility to converter faults.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)821-835
Number of pages15
JournalProgress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5J00-66892


  • central inverter
  • DC optimizers
  • distributed power electronics
  • energy yield
  • lifetime
  • microinverters
  • photovoltaic modules
  • power converters
  • reliability
  • SubMICs
  • submodule integrated converters


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