Power Electronics for PV-Based Communal Grids

Nicholas Opiyo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper power electronics used in PV power generation systems have been reviewed and modelled. PV systems need converters for maximum power point tracking, power conditioning, voltage step-up/down as necessary, and for storage charge-controlling. Inverters are needed for AC loads and for utility grid interfacing. The four basic DC-DC converters commonly used with PV systems have been reviewed and modelled. Different DC-AC inverter types and operational architectures have also been reviewed with the two-stage DC-AC inverter, with the point of common coupling (PCC) at the inverter input, suggested as the most cost-effective and efficient architecture for PV-based communal grids. This is because only one inverter is used for the entire system as opposed to an inverter for every module string, resulting in higher efficiencies, low cost, and low harmonic distortions when compared to systems with PCC at AC terminal. The aim of power conversion/inversion is to extract maximum power possible from the PV system and where necessary, to invert it at close to 100% as possible. Highlight: 1) DC-DC converters are necessary for power conditioning in PV systems; 2) DC-AC inverters are necessary for AC loads and for utility grid interfacing; 3) DC-AC inverters are also used to control the PV systems when grid connected; 4) Best inverter configuration cost-effectively and efficiently allows easy system modifications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-82
Number of pages16
JournalSmart Grid and Renewable Energy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 18 Feb 2016


  • Power Electronics
  • PV
  • Communal Grids
  • Modelling
  • Control Architecture


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