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Power Electronics:

Power electronics plays a major role in effective evacuation of power generated by the solar photovoltaic arrays and hence forms an integral part of solar PV solutions. Although several manufacturers in India are offering solar inverters, the technology developed is not yet robust enough to be able to get deployed on small rooftops and in rural areas. Further, they are not yet resilient enough to negotiate the Indian grid. In view of this, several inverter topologies both for standalone systems and grid interfaced systems have been developed in Phase I of NCPRE. Although the topologies developed are found to operate satisfactorily in a laboratory environment, their effectiveness is required to be tested by creating a real life situation in the laboratory. Further, it has been noted that in India there is no facility available where a solar inverter can be tested comprehensively at its rated condition while taking into consideration all the contingencies of the grid and the load.

In view of these observations, it is felt that there is a need to develop a unified test bench to rigorously test stand-alone inverter based systems as well as grid-connected inverter based systems. The NCPRE Power Electronics group is working on these aspects. Further, on this test bench, work on issues related to integration of solar PV systems, microgrids and optimal utilization of solar PV will be carried out.

Another aspect which the group is working on is to transform the semi-engineered systems that have been developed in Phase I to full-fledged products with protective features as stipulated by the various standards in vogue, and the deployment of these products at the places of their requirement. The potential users of the output from this group would be the power electronic industry involved in the development of low, medium and high power solar inverters and their control.

Finally, the power electronics group will work jointly with the module reliability group to assess the performance of solar PV power plants in India, which is an area of immense importance.

The Power Electronics group is headed by Prof. Kishore Chatterjee.