Solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays in portable applications are often subject to partial shading and rapid fluctuations of shading. In the usual series-connected wiring scheme, the residual energy generated by partially shaded cells either cannot be collected (if diode bypassed) or, worse, impedes collection of power from the remaining fully illuminated cells (if not bypassed). Rapid fluctuation of the shading pattern makes maximum power point (MPP) tracking difficult; generally, there will exist multiple local MPPs, and their values will change as rapidly as does the illumination. In this paper, a portable solar PV system that effectively eliminates both of the aforementioned problems is described and proven. This system is capable of simultaneously maximizing the power generated by every PV cell in the PV panel. The proposed configuration consists of an array of parallel-connected PV cells, a low-input-voltage step-up power converter, and a simple wide bandwidth MPP tracker. Parallel-configured PV systems are compared to traditional series-configured PV systems through both hardware experiments and computer simulations in this paper. Study results demonstrate that, under complex irradiance conditions, the power generated by the new configuration is approximately twice that of the traditional configuration. The solar PV system can be widely used in many consumer applications, such as PV vests for cell phones and music players.
Published in IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, Volume 56, 2009, pages 1548-1556.
© 2009 by IEEE