Published in: IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications
Abstract—To enable a more wide scale utilization of PV systems, the cost of PV energy should be comparable to or even lower than other energy sources. Due to the relatively low cost of PV modules, oversizing PV arrays becomes a common approach to reduce the cost of PV energy in practice. By doing so, the total energy yield can be increased under weak solar irradiance conditions. However, oversizing the PV array will increase the loading of PV inverters, which may have undesired influence on the PV inverter reliability and lifetime. In that case, it may result in a negative impact on the overall PV energy cost, due to the increased maintenance for the PV inverters. With the above concern, this paper evaluates the reliability and lifetime of PV inverters considering the PV array sizing. The evaluation is based on the mission profile of the installation sites in Denmark and Arizona, where the reliability-critical components such as power devices and capacitors are considered. The results reveal that the variation in the PV array sizing can considerably deviate the reliability performance and lifetime expectation of PV inverters, especially for those installed in Denmark, where the average solar irradiance level is relatively low. In that case, a certain design margin in term of reliability is required to ensure high-reliable operation of PV inverters.
Fig. 2. PV power extraction with oversized PV arrays (Pavai: available PV power, Ppv: extracted PV power, Ppv,rated: PV array rated power, Pinv,rated: PV inverter rated power, Rs = Ppv,rated/Pinv,rated: sizing ratio).
Fig. 16. B10 lifetime of the PV inverter and the sub-systems (i.e., full-bridge module and dc-link) with different sizing ratios for the mission profile in: (a) Denmark and (b) Arizona.