The contribution of solar power in electric power systems has been increasing rapidly due to its environmentally friendly nature. Photovoltaic (PV) systems contain solar cell panels, power electronic converters, high power switching and often transformers. These components collectively play an important role in shaping the reliability of PV systems. Moreover, the power output of PV systems is variable, so it cannot be controlled as easily as conventional generation due to the unpredictable nature of weather conditions. Therefore, solar power has a different influence on generating system reliability compared to conventional power sources. Recently, different PV system designs have been constructed to maximize the output power of PV systems. These different designs are commonly adopted based on the scale of a PV system. Large-scale grid-connected PV systems are generally connected in a centralized or a string structure. Central and string PV schemes are different in terms of connecting the inverter to PV arrays. Micro-inverter systems are recognized as a third PV system topology. It is therefore important to evaluate the reliability contribution of PV systems under these topologies. This work utilizes a probabilistic technique to develop a power output model for a PV generation system. A reliability model is then developed for a PV integrated power system in order to assess the reliability and energy contribution of the solar system to meet overall system demand. The developed model is applied to a small isolated power unit to evaluate system adequacy and capacity level of a PV system considering the three topologies.
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