PV Water Pumping with a Peak-Power Tracker Using a Simple Six-Step Square-Wave Inverter

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The application of photovoltaics (PV's) has been increasingly popular, especially in remote areas, where power from a utility is not available or is too costly to install. PV-powered water pumping is frequently used for agriculture and in households. Among many available schemes, the system under study consists of a PV array, a variable-frequency inverter, an induction motor, and a water pump. Toseek the optimum power output of the PV array, the inverter is operated at variable frequency, to vary the output of the water pump. The inverter is operated to generate a six-step quasi-square wave, instead of a pulsewidth modulated (PWM) voltage output, to reduce the switching losses. The inverter acts as both a variable-frequency source and a peak-power tracker of the system, thus, having thenumber of switches minimized. The system is a low-cost design, with a simple control strategy. The dc bus is supported by a dc capacitor; thus, a balance-of -power flow must be maintained to avoid the collapse of the dc-bus voltage. Another advantage of the system is that the current is limited to an upper limit of the PV-array current. Thus, in case a short circuit is developed, the motorwinding and the power semiconductor switches can be protected against excessive current flow.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)714-721
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Industry Applications
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-500-24394


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