A maximum power point tracking algorithm for photovoltaic applications

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


The voltage and current characteristic of a photovoltaic (PV) cell is highly nonlinear and operating a PV cell for maximum power transfer has been a challenge for a long time. Several techniques have been proposed to estimate and track the maximum power point (MPP) in order to improve the overall efficiency of a PV panel. A strategic use of the mean value theorem permits obtaining an analytical expression for a point that lies in a close neighborhood of the true MPP. But hitherto, an exact solution in closed form for the MPP is not published. This problem can be formulated analytically as a constrained optimization, which can be solved using the Lagrange method. This method results in a system of simultaneous nonlinear equations. Solving them directly is quite difficult. However, we can employ a recursive algorithm to yield a reasonably good solution. In graphical terms, suppose the voltage current characteristic and the constant power contours are plotted on the same voltage current plane, the point of tangency between the device characteristic and the constant power contours is the sought for MPP. It is subject to change with the incident irradiation and temperature and hence the algorithm that attempts to maintain the MPP should be adaptive in nature and is supposed to have fast convergence and the least misadjustment. There are two parts in its implementation. First, one needs to estimate the MPP. The second task is to have a DC-DC converter to match the given load to the MPP thus obtained. Availability of power electronics circuits made it possible to design efficient converters. In this paper although we do not show the results from a real circuit, we use MATLAB to obtain the MPP and a buck-boost converter to match the load. Under varying conditions of load resistance and irradiance we demonstrate MPP tracking in case of a commercially available solar panel MSX-60. The power electronics circuit is simulated by PSIM software.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEnergy Harvesting and Storage
Subtitle of host publicationMaterials, Devices, and Applications IV
StatePublished - 2013
EventEnergy Harvesting and Storage: Materials, Devices, and Applications IV - Baltimore, MD, United States
Duration: Apr 29 2013May 1 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherEnergy Harvesting and Storage: Materials, Devices, and Applications IV
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBaltimore, MD

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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