Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


2. ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY, Electrical and electronic engineering, Computer hardware and architecture, 2.3 MECHANICAL ENGINEERING, Energy and fuels

Publication Details

Presented at the 19th Sir Bernard Crossland Symposium and Workshop, Mecahnical Engineering. Queens University Belfast, 27 th APRIL 2016


An investigation into solar photovoltaic (PV) system control topology selection, when partial shade is anticipated in the solar array, is presented. As available area is maximised in Building Integrated PV (BIPV) systems, shading is an inevitable consequence. The presence of partial shading in a PV array leads to multiple power peaks in the power-voltage curve, due to bypass diode sections being triggered, and an increase in module mismatch losses in the array. A building energy design software, Integrated Environmental Solutions, is used to determine the shadowed area on PV modules throughout the year, incorporating the PV system location and geometrical models of obstacles around the array. Photovoltaic system topologies incorporate the following device options: central inverters, a power converter for each series string of PV modules, and a Module Integrated Converter (MIC). A model has been developed to compare a DC-AC parallel MIC configuration with a series string DC to AC power inverter configuration, for a commonly occurring shading pattern, and a simulation is used to compare the power delivered by the topologies. The model is broken up into the following stages: i) geometric modelling of array and surrounding obstacles, ii) solar PV power characteristic model as a function of temperature and irradiance, and iii) inverter efficiency model for each topology. A shade scenario is outlined to present data from each stage of the model. A discussion is presented to critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of the model.