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Power Electronics for Grid Integration

Over the past decade, there has been a substantial increase in solar photovoltaic (PV) deployment in India, and the government plans to further enhance solar PV penetration in the grid in the coming decade through the development of high-power solar parks with multi-gigawatt capacities. This growth presents challenges that require innovative technological solutions, particularly in the field of power electronics. The advent of wide-bandgap (WBG) based power semiconductor devices, such as Silicon Carbide (SiC), opens up opportunities for higher efficiencies and smaller form factors in MW-level solar inverters. SiC-based power converters can increase voltage levels at both AC and DC sides, eliminating the need for grid-frequency transformers and reducing costs, size, and losses. However, this technology introduces research challenges, including gate drive design, protection circuit design, high-power high-frequency magnetics design, topology selection, leakage current management, safety issues, and control strategies for grid integration. Additionally, ensuring the reliability of these high-power inverters is crucial, as failures could result in significant revenue losses and downtime. Condition monitoring and accelerated aging research are essential for maintaining reliability, especially with the introduction of new inverter technologies like Active Power Decoupling and Automatic Thermal Control.

To address the above issues, following activities are being planned in the power integration group of NCPRE Phase-III.

  • SiC-based compact and efficient inverter for direct MV grid integration
    • SiC gate drive and protection circuits for power electronics
    • Circuit topology and design for medium voltage solar inverter
    • Insulation and transformers for medium-voltage medium-frequency power electronics
    • Controller for medium voltage solar inverter, along with grid integration
  • Estimation and improvement of solar inverter reliability
    • Condition monitoring techniques in solar inverter
    • Accelerated aging and failure models
    • Technologies for improving reliability
  • Optimal capacity and technology mix of grid scale storage for achieving high penetration of Renewables
    • Optimal battery scheduling to minimize degradation / battery cost