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/Job opportunities/Reconfigurable PV system design: the case of Differential Power Processing (DPP) for partially shaded modules

Reconfigurable PV system design: the case of Differential Power Processing (DPP) for partially shaded modules

Research & development - Genk | More than two weeks ago

Reconfigurable PV modules in DPP architecture aiming at miniaturization of embedded power electronics and increase of system performance under partial shading conditions

PV solar energy is one of the cleanest forms for energy generation. Solar power has become one of the fastest emerging and cheapest technologies for electricity generation the last few years. The basic element of PV systems is the solar cell which absorbs light and converts it to electricity through the photovoltaic effect. Multiple cells are interconnected and integrated into a single unit to form the PV module.

A standard 60 or 72 cell PV module is usually built from 3 substrings of serially connected cells. A bypass diode is placed in each substring to ensure the elimination of hotspots created by current mismatch. If a small area of the module is shaded, the bypass diode of the corresponding substring will be activated and current will flow through it, resulting into reduced energy generation.

The reconfigurable module is introduced as a solution to avoid the aforementioned energy generation loss. In order to reduce the negative effect of partial shading and current mismatch, the substrings can be dynamically reconfigured through active switches and their output generated power will be processed by sub-module local converters. Ideally the goal of the local converter is to provide an energy- and cost-efficient solution, aiming at a low-cost integrated converter. The DPP architecture which only processes a fraction of the total power produced by the cell-strings can offer an interesting solution to PV systems, allowing lower current and voltage ratings for the converter’s components and thus enabling potential integrability and increased system performance.

To further enable the design of such systems, we want to explore the feasibility and performance of reconfigurable modules, DPP architectures and submodule level power electronics (DC/DC converters) with a focus on the trade-offs for power and cost/size efficient system co-design.

Students from both Electrical Engineering and Energy are encouraged to apply. The student will be able to strengthen their technical skills and knowledge in an interdisciplinary topic including PV layout modelling and performance as well as power electronics topologies (DC/DC converters) and architectures (DPP) according to their background, interests and their own research questions. The results of this research may help to design next generation’s PV systems in the transition towards a renewable energy future. The candidate will be working in an international and multidisciplinary environment of the EnergyVille campus.

Type of project: Thesis

Duration: 9 months

Required degree: Master of Engineering Technology, Master of Engineering Science

Required background: Energy, Electrotechnics/Electrical Engineering

Supervising scientist(s): For further information or for application, please contact: Apostolos Bakovasilis (

Only for self-supporting students.