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The modular multilevel converter (MMC) is attractive for medium or high-power applications because of the advantages of its high modularity, availability, and high power quality. Reliability is one of the most important challenges for the MMC consisting of a large number of submodules (SMs). The capacitor monitoring is one of the important issues in the MMC. This paper proposed a reference submodule (RSM)-based capacitor monitoring strategy for the capacitance estimation in the MMC, where the capacitances in the monitoring SMs can be estimated based on the capacitor voltage relationship between the RSM and the monitoring SMs. The proposed monitoring strategy does not rely on the information of all capacitor voltage and current, which effectively simplifies the algorithm for capacitance estimation. The simulation studies with the time-domain professional tool PSCAD/EMTDC are conducted and a down-scale MMC prototype is also tested in the laboratory with the proposed capacitor monitoring strategy. The study results confirm the effectiveness of the proposed capacitor monitoring strategy. REFERENCE SUB MODULE-BASED CAPACITOR MONITORING STRATEGY FOR MODULAR MULTILEVEL CONVERTERS