Solar micro inverters are an emerging segment of the solar power industry. Rather than linking all solar panels in a solar installation together to a central inverter, solar micro inverter systems place smaller, or “micro,” inverters in line with each individual solar panel. Benefits of this configuration include elimination of partial shading conditions, increased system efficiency, improved reliability and greater modularity.
Despite these benefits, a solar micro inverter poses complex challenges to designers. Designers must tackle non-linear characteristics of the solar panel power output, devise technical maximum power point track (MPPT) algorithms to maximize energy delivery, and understand complex power stage design and control. They must also determine a suitable controller that is straightforward to work with and has the performance and flexibility to implement these complex functions.
To address these challenges, TI today announced the new C2000™ Solar Micro Inverter Development Kit, providing a complete micro inverter for high-performance solar power systems. The inverter kit is based on TI’s C2000 Piccolo™ TMS320F28035 microcontroller (MCU). The innovative features of the C2000 Piccolo F28035 MCU and the unique hardware design of the kit enable OEMs to design efficient and reliable grid-tied solar micro inverters.
C2000™ Solar Micro Inverter Development Kit
The C2000 Piccolo F28035 MCU serves as a high-performance controller for the complete micro inverter system, executing high-frequency control loops for the DC/DC and DC/AC power stages. It operates the inverter at a high PWM frequency of 100 KHz to reduce harmonic distortion and lower passive component costs. It supports panel voltages of 28 to 45V at input, as well as universal power output at up to 280W for 220VAC and up to 140W for 110VAC, making it suitable for the diverse requirements of worldwide solar markets. It offers 93 percent peak efficiency and less than 4 percent total harmonic distortion (THD), providing more power output per solar panel, reducing detrimental heat dissipation and increasing system longevity. The single-MCU system implementation offers design simplicity and reduced system cost.
The kit breaks down the development process into manageable pieces. Users can evaluate the design initially through an intuitive graphical user interface without needing to develop code. When users are ready to explore in further depth, they can use comprehensive theory-based documentation for step-by-step guidance through the software and hardware implementation of a solar micro inverter, incrementally building from open loop to closed loop operation of power stages. The included solar and digital power software libraries provide code-optimized building blocks to implement a variety of power topologies and algorithms such as MPPT and Software Phase Locked Loops, perfect for designing customized solar inverter solutions. In addition, the kit offers complete software source code and hardware design files, enabling designers to understand exactly how to implement the design and begin their own unique solar power implementations.
See how the C2000 Piccolo F28035 MCU can help you solve your solar micro inverter challenges by checking out the C2000 Solar Micro Inverter Development Kit (TMDSSOLARUINVKIT), available today for $850 USD through the TI eStore. Designers can begin browsing the software and design resources of the kit for free in the C2000 controlSUITE™.
Leave us a note below — we’d love to hear your feedback about our C2000 Solar Micro Inverter Development Kit! Will it improve your latest solar power designs?