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The distributed static synchronous compensator (DSTATCOM) has emerged as an indispensable compensator element in the management of reactive power demand in distributed power management systems as well as grid connected systems. The DSTATCOM maintains the voltage at the point of common coupling (PCC) and at the DC link voltage across the DC link capacitor. For these two purposes, there are two independent controllers and these controllers are predominantly of PI types. Tuning the PI controller is a challenging exercise. In this paper, a novel method for tuning the PI controllers using particle swarm optimization is presented. By MATLAB SIMULINK simulation it is shown that the particle swarm optimization-tuned PI controller performs better than the traditional Ziegler-Nichols technique-tuned PI controller. In order to validate the proposed idea, an experimental setup has also been constructed with a PIC16F877A micro controller as the central control element and as a scale down physical model of the DSTATCOM.
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