Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

John A. McNeill, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Stephen J. Bitar, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Alexander E. Emanuel, Advisor




This thesis analyzes the general performance and design requirements of photovoltaic(PV) systems, and specifically how they relate to the design of a system intended to supply power to a rotating satellite. The PV array geometry was discussed, different DC-DC converter topologies were analyzed, and optimum array geometry and converter topologies were determined. The potential reference quantities for use in control of the system are examined. Due to its comparably greater linearity with respect to changes in apparent load and its relative insensitivity to insolation changes, voltage was determined to be the best reference quantity for use in stable tracking of the maximum power operating point of photovoltaic modules. The preceding work is used to design and model a photovoltaic system for a rotating satellite ensuring the supply of the maximum available power as well as stable operation. Simulations of the system are performed at rotational velocities up to 300 rev/min and its behavior is analyzed to demonstrate the validity of the preceding work. It was concluded that: ● parallel connected photovoltaic panels provide greater efficiency than series connected panels. ● Buck, Boost, and Cuk Converter architectures are best suited to PV applications ● PV Voltage is the best reference quantity for use in stable control of PV systems.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Electrical & Computer Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





photovoltaic solar satellite optimize dc-dc, Photovoltaic power systems, Artificial satellites, Control systems