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A Voltage Based Maximum Power Point Tracker for Low Power and Low Cost Photovoltaic Applications

Authors: Jawad Ahmad, Hee-Jun Kim


This paper describes the design of a voltage based maximum power point tracker (MPPT) for photovoltaic (PV) applications. Of the various MPPT methods, the voltage based method is considered to be the simplest and cost effective. The major disadvantage of this method is that the PV array is disconnected from the load for the sampling of its open circuit voltage, which inevitably results in power loss. Another disadvantage, in case of rapid irradiance variation, is that if the duration between two successive samplings, called the sampling period, is too long there is a considerable loss. This is because the output voltage of the PV array follows the unchanged reference during one sampling period. Once a maximum power point (MPP) is tracked and a change in irradiation occurs between two successive samplings, then the new MPP is not tracked until the next sampling of the PV array voltage. This paper proposes an MPPT circuit in which the sampling interval of the PV array voltage, and the sampling period have been shortened. The sample and hold circuit has also been simplified. The proposed circuit does not utilize a microcontroller or a digital signal processor and is thus suitable for low cost and low power applications.

Keywords: Maximum power point tracker, Sample and hold amplifier, Sampling interval, Sampling period.

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