Smart Solar Energy Conversion and Solar Charging

Four electric vehicles charging under photovoltaic array.

UCF researchers have developed several bi-directional power electronic circuits for battery charging in solar, grid-tied systems. The battery charger uses Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) to charge batteries or simply provide a DC output at up to 300W with a solar panel connected to its input. The power stage is highly efficient and with MPPT, with 30% more power harvested from the solar panel compared to chargers without MPPT. It is fully digitally controlled, which makes it possible to perform a very fast MPPT algorithm to react on changes of radiation fast. Separate charging algorithms can also be implemented easily to adapt to different battery chemistries. In order to meet higher power levels, several chargers can be connected in parallel, and realize current sharing using the CAN bus for communication. Its user interface makes it possible to change several settings, for example, parameters of the battery charging algorithm or its output voltage if used as a DC source. Besides that a LCD displays the current operating conditions such as voltage, current and power for its input and output.

Years of Research: 2001-Present

Suggested Publications