For microgrids, energy storage, and inverter test applications, the TerraSAS™ series photovoltaic (PV) simulators are specifically designed to emulate the dynamic electrical behavior of a terrestrial PV solar array. They offer low output capacitance and high closed loop bandwidth to keep up with the advanced Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) algorithms used in today’s grid-tied inverters. The Embedded TerraSAS (ETS) is a high performance solution in a small form factor that combines an agile power supply with an innovative I-V curve generator in a single standalone unit.
Many solar inverters generate AC ripple on their DC input, which is connected to the photovoltaic array. For single phase inverters, the frequency of this ripple is twice the line frequency (120 Hz for US models). The simulator’s power supplies must not suppress this ripple as a function of their regulation loop. An increasing number of inverters (and virtually all micro-inverters) accurately measure amplitude and phase of the ripple voltage and current to quickly track the MPP of the array. This approach allows tracking the MPP at a much higher speed when compared to conventional dithering techniques (also called perturbate-and-observe). Faster tracking of the MPP results in a much higher overall efficiency in cloudy conditions, where the irradiance is constantly changing. It is likely that all solar inverters will use this approach in the near future, since end users are very sensitive to the overall efficiency of their solar energy installations. To satisfy this requirement, the PV simulator must be capable of reproducing the voltage / current behavior of a solar array at the ripple frequency. Most standard switching power supplies employ very large output capacitors and inductors in their output circuits and are unable to deliver the required performance - regardless of the response speed of the I-V curve controller. The Elgar TerraSAS line of PV simulators are based on high speed versions of our standard products, where output capacitors and other speed-limiting components have been adjusted. This results in a speed improvement of 10 times or better. Proprietary features built into the PV controller hardware and firmware, combined with our high speed power supplies, deliver the required performance. This technology was extensively tested on micro-inverters and is ready to test the next generation of inverters. The required performance is delivered by high speed switching power supplies and advanced Digital Signal Processing techniques. In some conditions traditional DC power sources using IGBT technology do not meet MPPT response speed requirements, depending on the MPPT principles. Our power supplies use Power MOSFETs, which typically switch ten times as fast as the most recent IGBTs. Higher switching frequency translates to smaller output capacitors and inductors - which is the key to a successful high speed power supply design.
Power supplies are available in 850W, 5kW, 10kW, and 15KW increments. The 80V units are available in two power levels: 1200W for microinverters and 850W for the latest generation microinverters and DC power optimizers. The bandwidth on the 850W version has been improved to 30kHz by adding a linear regulation output stage. 600V and 1000V units are available in 5kW, 10kW, and 15kW versions depending on Isc requirements. All versions are easily connected in parallel to scale output power up to handle microinverters, string inverters, and even utility scale inverters. Many models can also be connected in series to handle higher voltage tests. Please refer to the connection diagrams located in the User Manual and follow appropriate wiring codes before connecting ETS PV simulators in series or paralle.
Features And Benefits