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DSP-Based Hands-On Laboratory Experiments for Photovoltaic Power Systems

This paper presents a new photovoltaic (PV) power systems laboratory module that was developed to experimentally reinforce students’ understanding of design principles, operation, and control of photovoltaic power conversion systems. The laboratory module is project-based and is designed to support a renewable energy course. By using MATLAB real-time software tools in combination with digital signal processor (DSP) hardware tools, the module enables students to: 1) design and build dc-dc and dc-ac power converters; 2) design and implement control algorithms for maximum power point tracking (MPPT) and voltage and current regulation; and 3) design and fabricate a printed circuit board for voltage and current sensing, isolation, and gate driving. In these hands-on experiments, by designing and building their hardware and software integrated systems themselves, students learn by doing and experience the engineering transformative process of building a product out of an idea.

This paper is motivated by the dearth of literature on the application of project-based learning methodology to PV systems. The module description, the pedagogical and evaluation methodologies adopted, and reflections on the implementations are discussed.