Publication Authors

Satyaki Mukherjee

Branko Majmunovic

Dragan Maksimovic

Gab-Su Seo

Levelized Cost of Energy-Oriented Modular String Inverter Design Optimization for PV Generation System Using Geometric Programming


Levelized cost of energy (LCOE) is a commonly used metric to assess the cost-to-benefit ratio over the lifetime of an energy resource, such as photovoltaics (PV); however, power electronics engineers tend to rely on metrics such as efficiency and power density, which do not guarantee lifetime cost optimality. Recent work has shown that an LCOE-focused optimization approach can yield improved system designs, leading to improved lifetime performance with balanced lifetime cost and energy generation. This paper outlines an LCOE optimization framework for PV power electronics that uses geometric programming. The large number of circuit parameters and nonlinear nature of the system equations pose significant barriers. Our approach allows for decoupling the design variables, which, in turn, enables superior computational efficiency and a near-optimal solution. By incorporating the power electronics design process and magnetic loss mechanism into the convex design framework, the optimization engine yields practically implementable parameters for a PV converter that minimizes LCOE. An optimization example for a cascaded modular PV
inverter architecture is presented that suggests 3.35% LCOE improvement can be achieved by the new power electronics and the advanced optimization. The proposed optimization framework can be applied to other power generation systems to evaluate the effect of the power electronics design on system lifetime costs and efficiency.