DC-DC Converter Based Photovoltaic Simulator with a Double Current Mode Controller


This paper explores the performance of a dc-dc converter, which emulates the output characteristics of a real photovoltaic (PV) module. The PV simulator uses a double current mode controller to ensure fast and accurate reproduction of a module's current-voltage (IV) characteristics. A portable PV simulator prototype of 85 W is examined in terms of its steady state IV curve matching capacity and the convergence time corresponding to step changes in current source load, voltage source load, and insolation levels. The IV characteristics of the PV module are implemented as a look-up-table, which determines the reference output current from measured output voltage. The Thevenin equivalent circuit of the PV module is used to model its small-signal (linearized) characteristics for stability analysis. Extensive simulation and experimental results, with loads that have current-source, voltage-source, and resistive characteristics, validate the converter's suitability for replacing a PV module in most laboratory situations. Modularity and compatibility with a maximum power point tracker have also been validated.


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Intelligent Systems Center


National Science Foundation (U.S.)


This work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Award 1406156.

Keywords and Phrases

Controllers; DC-DC Converters; Digital Control Systems; Electric Inverters; Equivalent Circuits; Maximum Power Point Trackers; Photovoltaic Cells; Power Converters; Simulators; Solar Power Generation; Table Lookup; Current Mode Control; Current Mode Controllers; Digital Control; Extensive Simulations; I-V Curve; Output Characteristics; Photovoltaic; Thevenin Equivalent Circuit; Current Voltage Characteristics; Digital Control; Photovoltaic (PV) Simulator; Predictive Current Mode Control; Solar Panel Current-Voltage (IV) Curve

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0885-8993; 1941-0107

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2018 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jul 2018