The input of a solar inverter depends on multiple factors: the solar resource, weather conditions, and control strategies. Traditional design calculations specify the maximum current either as 125% of the rated module current or as the maximum 3 h average current from hourly simulations over a typical year, neglecting extreme irradiance conditions: cloud enhancement events that usually last minutes. Inverter power-limiting control strategies usually prevent extreme events to cause strong currents at the inverter, but in some cases, they can fail, leading to high currents. In this study, we aim to report how frequent and strong these high currents could be. We use 10 years of 1 min data from seven stations across the United States to estimate the photovoltaic string output through modeling the short-circuit current Isc, and the maximum-power point current Imp, and compare them to traditional inverter design values. We consider different conﬁgurations: minutely to hourly resolution; 5 min to 3 h averaging time intervals; monofacial and bifacial modules (with a case of enhanced albedo); and 3 ﬁxed-tilt angles and horizontal single-axis tracking. The bifacial modules with enhanced albedo lead to the highest currents for 1 min data, exceeding 3 h averages by 53% for Isc and 38% for Imp. The 3 h average maxima surpass the conservative 125% design rule for bifacial modules. Inverter ratings at either a 200% of the rated current or 1.55 times the 3 h maximum could withstand all events regardless of control strategies. In summary, for some locations it is prudent to compare current design rules to subhourly simulations to guarantee the fault-free operation of solar PV plants.
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