Photo-voltaic power systems: modeling, design, simulation, and control


The tutorial covers a practical introduction to PV power systems featuring an array of real-world examples. It will guide audience through all facets of photovoltaic (PV) power system analysis, modeling, simulation, research, design, and control. The development of this tutorial follows the author’s 15–year experience as an electrical engineer in the PV engineering sector and as an educator in academia. It
features a systematic presentation; organized to facilitate smooth transitions from fundamental knowledge to advanced subjects, making it a valuable tool for guiding research in academic contexts and for fostering performance enhancements in industry. The approach for modeling and simulation is based on the system dynamics for audience to understand the fundamental principle behind various simulation tools.

Objective and Scope

The tutorial is both a useful working resource for electrical engineers in the PV power systems industry and an excellent reference for advanced level undergraduates and graduate students in courses on PV power systems. The key subject areas covered in depth include:

  • PV and PV power system fundamentals
  • Classification of PV power systems
  • Sizing and design of standalone PV power systems including battery and PV array
  • Safety standards to design grid-tied PV power systems
  • PV modeling; converter topologies for interfacing PV power output
  • Techniques of maximum power point tracking and control subjects
  • Integration of PV power systems in different scales for practical design, simulation, research, and development

Tutorial Content

The tutorial is divided into 7 sections that are organized in a flow for easy following and understanding

  • Section 1 provides a brief introduction about solar power systems.
  • Section 2 provides a comprehensive classification of photovoltaic power systems, mainly for the grid-tied systems, which is the majority of recent PV system installation. Different from the traditional classification, the system is defined by the granularity level, at which the maximum power point tracking (MPPT) is applied. The classification avoids any vague and confusing system definition and is clear to understand the latest system approach and inform the direction for research and development.
  • Section 3 guides the research and develop PV power systems with the consideration of the safety standards, guidance, and regulations. The information is useful for academia to prevent research deviation from the standard practice in industry. For people in industry, it provides the reference for safe engineering and design. It covers the certification of PV modules, the safety
    standards of power interfaces, the system requirement for grid interconnection, and the important means for protection. Even though the standards are mainly referred to the applications in either Europe or USA, the general principle for safety can be applied to countries that the PV power system regulation is not well established.
  • Section 4 presents the information of PV output characteristics and mathematical models for simulation and analysis.
  • Section 5 provides the information to specify, design, simulate, and evaluate the power conditioning circuit and accessories for PV power utilization.
  • Section 6 mainly focuses on the dynamic modelling in PV power systems and the application of the linear control theory. When the system is modelled and the closed-loop is designed, the evaluation of relative stability and system robustness is discussed.
  • Section 7 focuses on the technology of maximum power point tracking (MPPT), which is important and unique for PV power systems.
  • Section 8 If time is allowed, this section addresses the design and integration of grid-tied PV
    power systems including small-scale single phase interconnection or utility-level three phase


Dr. Weidong Xiao | Associate professor, Centre for Future Energy Networks
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