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**tracking eﬃciency of photovoltaic facilities
**

with diﬀerent converter topologies

J.M. Enrique

a,

*

, E. Dura´n

a

, M. Sidrach-de-Cardona

b,1

, J.M. Andu´ jar

a

a

Departamento de Ingenierı´a Electro´ nica, de Sistemas Informa´ ticos y Automa´ tica, Universidad de Huelva, Spain

b

Departamento de Fı´sica Aplicada, II, Universidad de Ma´ laga, Spain

Received 16 May 2005; received in revised form 1 March 2006; accepted 15 June 2006

Available online 24 August 2006

Communicated by: Associate Editor Hansjo¨ rg Gabler

Abstract

The operating point of a photovoltaic generator that is connected to a load is determined by the intersection point of its characteristic

curves. In general, this point is not the same as the generator’s maximum power point. This diﬀerence means losses in the system per-

formance. DC/DC converters together with maximum power point tracking systems (MPPT) are used to avoid these losses. Diﬀerent

algorithms have been proposed for maximum power point tracking. Nevertheless, the choice of the conﬁguration of the right converter

has not been studied so widely, although this choice, as demonstrated in this work, has an important inﬂuence in the optimum perfor-

mance of the photovoltaic system. In this article, we conduct a study of the three basic topologies of DC/DC converters with resistive

load connected to photovoltaic modules. This article demonstrates that there is a limitation in the system’s performance according to the

type of converter used. Two fundamental conclusions are derived from this study: (1) the buck–boost DC/DC converter topology is the

only one which allows the follow-up of the PV module maximum power point regardless of temperature, irradiance and connected load

and (2) the connection of a buck–boost DC/DC converter in a photovoltaic facility to the panel output could be a good practice to

improve performance.

Ó 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Photovoltaic module; DC/DC converter; I–V curve; Maximum power point tracker; Losses

1. Introduction

DC/DC converters are widely used in photovoltaic gen-

erating systems as an interface between the photovoltaic

panel and the load, allowing the follow-up of the maximum

power point (MPP). Its main task is to condition the energy

generated by the array of cells following a speciﬁc control

strategy (Hua and Shen, 1998; Hussein et al., 1995;

Masoum et al., 2002). The DC/DC conversion process

implies in turn an associated eﬀect of impedance transfor-

mation, i.e., the input impedance shows a dependence on

a number of parameters such as load resistance, duty cycle,

etc. In this sense, converters are similar to transformers

when they are used as impedance adaptors, except that in

converters the adaptation parameter is not the turns ratio

between the secondary and primary ones, but the duty

cycle d, which can be governed electronically (Singer,

1991; Jingquan et al., 2001; Tse et al., 2002, 2004), a fact

that corresponds to the maximum power point tracking

system (MPPT). This eﬀect, which is the basis of MPPT

systems, also shows an odd property: certain input imped-

ance values can be either reached or not, depending on the

0038-092X/$ - see front matter Ó 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/j.solener.2006.06.006

*

Corresponding author. Tel.: +34 959 21 7374/7655/7671/7656; fax:

+34 959 017304.

E-mail addresses: juanm.enrique@diesia.uhu.es (J.M. Enrique), msi-

drach@ctima.uma.es (M. Sidrach-de-Cardona).

1

Tel.: +34 952132722/23; fax: +34 952131450.

www.elsevier.com/locate/solener

Solar Energy 81 (2007) 31–38

type of converter used, which signiﬁcantly aﬀects the pho-

tovoltaic system’s performance.

MPPT is used in PV power systems to force the PV mod-

ule operating at MPP. In this way the PV module produces

the maximum power output. For this operating point, it

overcomes the disadvantages of high initial installation costs

and low energy conversion eﬃciency. Previously-used meth-

ods of achieving MPPT include: (1) incremental conduc-

tance (IncCond); (2) perturbation and observation (P&O);

(3) neural network and (4) curve-ﬁtting (Hua et al., 2003).

At present there are numerous works aimed at designing

MPPT systems (Bahgat et al., 2004; Enslin et al., 1997; Gar-

cı ´a and Alonso, 2000; Hua et al., 2003; Kitano et al., 2003;

Masoum et al., 2002; Neto et al., 2000; Schilla et al., 2000;

Veerachary et al., 2002, 2003; Yu et al., 2004), where the eﬃ-

ciency of each of them is shown and comparatives of the dif-

ferent methods of MPP tracking are established under

diﬀerent operating conditions. However, the choice of the

appropriate DC/DC converter for the implementation of

both the MPPT system and its integration in the facility

array has not been explicitly studied, despite its aﬀecting sig-

niﬁcantly the optimumoperation of the photovoltaic system.

The aim of this work is to make a comparative of the

photovoltaic system performance using the three basic

topologies of DC/DC converters and MPPT tracker, so

that it may be possible to make a decision on the best con-

ﬁguration to be used. This work is divided into the follow-

ing sections: Sections 2 and 3 present some characteristics

and properties of photovoltaic modules and DC/DC con-

verters, especially as regards the input impedance that they

present under certain operating conditions. The analysis

and results for each conﬁguration are shown in Sections 4

and 5. Finally, some conclusions are drawn in Section 6.

2. Theoretical models of solar arrays

A simpliﬁed exponential expression (Gow and Manning,

1999) describes the relationship between voltage (V) and

current given by a module, Eq. (1).

I ¼ n

P

I

L

ÀI

s

e

q

V

n

S

þ

IR

S

n

P

_ __

AKT

À1

_ _

À

V

n

S

þ

IR

S

n

P

R

P

_ _

ð1Þ

P ¼ I Á V ð2Þ

P ¼ n

P

Á V Á I

L

ÀI

s

e

q

V

n

S

þ

PÁR

S

V Án

P

_ __

AKT

À1

_ _

À

V

n

S

þ

PÁR

S

V Án

P

R

P

_ _

ð3Þ

dP

dV

_ _

MPP

¼ 0 ð4Þ

The n

P

and n

S

parameters indicate the number of cells

connected in parallel and in series, respectively; R

P

and R

S

, are the intrinsic parallel and series resistances associated

to the panel; K is the Boltzman constant (1.38 · 10

À23

J/K)

and q is the charge on an electron. Factor A determines the

deviation of the characteristics of an ideal p–n junction,

and I

S

is the reverse saturation current, which presents a

dependence on the panel temperature. I

L

represents the

current (photo-current) generated by solar radiation (G).

Such a current shows a linear relation with regard to radi-

ation and temperature.

Eq. (1) (considering the dependence of its parameters on

T and G) provides the so-called I–V curves of a photovol-

taic panel, and the multiplication result of both magnitudes

provides the supplied power: Eqs. (2) and (3). This curve

changes depending on the incident irradiance and the cell

temperature. Each curve presents a maximum power point

(MPP, point of coordinate V

P

), which provides the optimal

operation point for an eﬃcient use of the panel (Hohm and

Ropp, 2002; Hua and Shen, 1998).

The MPP is calculated solving Eq. (3) with the condition

(4). This calculation is tedious and slow, since these expres-

sions do not have an analytical solution, and therefore,

they have to be solved by numerical methods (i.e., New-

ton’s method). Other two important points of this curve

are the open-circuit voltage (V

oc

) and the short-circuit cur-

rent (I

sc

). The voltage in an open circuit represents the

maximum voltage given by the panel to a zero current

(without load), while the short circuit current represents

Nomenclature

d duty cycle

g MPP-tracking eﬃciency

A ideality factor of PN junction

C capacitance

I current supplied by the photovoltaic array

I

L

photo-current generated by solar radiation

I

MPP

maximum power point current

K Boltzmann constant (1.38 · 10

À23

J/K)

L inductance

n

P

number of parallel-connected cells

n

S

number of series-connected cells

P power supplied by the photovoltaic array

P

MPP

power of the maximum power point

q electro´ n charge (1.602 · 10

À19

coulombs)

R

i

input resistance

R

L

load resistance

R

MPP

maximum power point impedance

R

P

intrinsic parallel resistance

I

S

reverse saturation current

R

S

intrinsic series resistance

T temperature

T

C

conmutation period

V voltage supplied by the photovoltaic array

V

MPP

maximum power point voltage

32 J.M. Enrique et al. / Solar Energy 81 (2007) 31–38

the maximum removable current of the panel (short-circuit

load).

There are other models of photovoltaic generators

(PVG) apart from the one mentioned above. Akbaba and

Alataawi (1995) proposed a simple model which is named

the Akbaba model (Akbaba et al., 1998). Its accuracy, ﬂex-

ibility and simplicity are demonstrated by comparing this

model with the traditional diode junction model for a

PVG whose parameters are given in Appelbaum (1986).

But the existing version of the Akbaba model is not com-

plete, since the values of its model parameters are solar radi-

ation-dependent and they need to be evaluated at each solar

radiation level. This adds additional computational burden

and hence full advantage of the model cannot be utilized.

In this work, we use the model described in Eq. (1) in

order to implement the theoretic model used in the

simulation.

3. DC/DC converters as variable resistance emulators

DC/DC converters are used in applications where an

average output voltage is required, which can be higher or

lower than the input voltage. This is achieved by governing

the times in which the converter’s main switch conducts or

does not conduct (PWMtechnique) usually to a constant fre-

quency. The ratio of the time interval in which the switch is

on (T

ON

) to the commutation period (T

C

) is called duty cycle

(d) of the converter. Both in the continuous conduction

operational mode (CCM)

2

and the discontinuous conduc-

tion mode (DCM),

3

the three basic converter topologies

can be compared to a continuous current transformer,

where the transformation ratio can be electronically con-

trolled varying the converter’s duty cycle d in the range [0, 1].

Fig. 1 shows the diagram of a solar panel connected to a

DC/DC converter, where the resistance shown at the con-

verter’s input is represented by R

i

(R

L

is the converter’s

load resistance). In relation to the photovoltaic module,

the converter is its R

i

value load resistance. Assuming con-

verters without losses, the ratio of input resistance to load

resistance is shown in Table 1, both for CCM and DCM

(Tse et al., 2002).

The converter’s operational mode is deﬁned by the con-

stant K given in (5), where L

eqv

is the inductance equivalent

to the converter, R

L

its load resistance and T

C

the commu-

tation period (reverse to the operating frequency).

K ¼

2L

eqv

R

L

T

C

ð5Þ

If K value is lower than or equal to another one called

K

crit

, the converter will operate in DCM. Conversely, if K

exceeds the value of K

crit

, the converter will operate in

CCM. As observed in Table 1, the value of K

crit

is diﬀerent

for each type of converter.

Fig. 2 shows the three basic converters which provide

the diﬀerent conversion ratios given in Table 1, together

with a graphic representation of the input resistance

reﬂected according to the duty cycle d for CCM (Andujar

et al., 2004; Enrique et al., 2005).

4. Theoretic analysis

Fig. 3 shows the I–V curve for a given module connected

to a converter. Let us take any curve point, for example A.

The photovoltaic module will operate in A provided that

the output voltage and current match the voltage and

current of point A (V

A

, I

A

). Thus, we will call the quotient

V

A

/I

A

impedance of the operating point A (R

iA

).

Assume that B is the maximum power point, therefore

R

iB

= R

MPP

= V

MPP

/I

MP

. The system will then operate at

the maximum power point (MPP) provided that R

i

=

R

iB

= R

MPP

. In general terms, a maximum power point

tracking system tries to vary impedance at the photovoltaic

module output (R

i

) in order to take it to the R

MPP

value.

As has been mentioned above, the I–V curve of a photovo-

ltaic module varies according to the incidental temperature

and radiation, so V

MPP

, I

MPP

and R

MPP

will vary depend-

ing on how these variables do.

4.1. Analysis of the module-buck converter-load

conﬁguration

The following expressions are deduced from Table 1 for

the buck converter:

2

CCM (Continuous Conduction Mode): DC/DC converter operational

mode, where the current intensity that circulates through the inductance of

that converter is not cancelled out at any interval of the T

C

commutation

period.

3

DCM (DCM, Discontinuous Conduction Mode): DC/DC converter

operational mode, where the current intensity that circulates through the

inductance of that converter is cancelled out during an interval of the T

C

commutation period.

Fig. 1. Panel–converter connection.

Table 1

R

i

values for converters in Fig. 4

Converter K

crit

R

i

(CCM) R

i

(DCM)

Buck 1 À d

RL

d

2 RL

4

Á 1 þ

ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

1 þ4K=d

2

_

_ _

2

Boost dÆ(1 À d)

2

R

L

Æ (1 À d)

2 4ÁRL

ð1þ

ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

1þ4d

2

p

=KÞ

2

Buck–boost (1 À d)

2 RLÁð1ÀdÞ

2

d

2

KÁRL

d

2

With K ¼

2Leqv

RLTC

DCM happens for K 6 K

crit

J.M. Enrique et al. / Solar Energy 81 (2007) 31–38 33

lim

d!0

R

i-CCM

¼ lim

d!0

R

L

d

2

¼ 1 ð6Þ

lim

d!1

R

i-CCM

¼ lim

d!1

R

L

d

2

¼ R

L

ð7Þ

lim

d!0

R

i-DCM

¼ lim

d!0

R

L

4

Á 1 þ

ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

1 þ

4K

d

2

_

_ _

2

¼ 1 ð8Þ

R

i-DCM

¼

R

L

4

Á 1 þ

ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

1 þ

4K

d

2

_

_ _

2

PR

L

ð9Þ

lim

d!1

R

i-DCM

¼ lim

d!1

R

L

4

Á 1 þ

ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

1 þ

4K

d

2

_

_ _

2

ð10Þ

In DCM K 6 K

crit

¼ ð1 ÀdÞ, then:

lim

d!1

R

i-DCM

6 lim

d!1

R

L

4

Á 1 þ

ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

1 þ

4ð1 ÀdÞ

d

2

¸

_

_

_

_

2

¼ R

L

ð11Þ

From (9) and (11) we have:

lim

d!1

R

i-DCM

¼ R

L

ð12Þ

Being the expressions of R

i

continuous in d, for a scan-

ning of the converter’s duty cycle d 2 [0,1], R

i

takes values

that belong to the interval [R

L

,1), being R

L

the load resis-

tance. If R

MPP

does not belong to the set of values allowed

for R

i

, the capture of MPP will not be possible, thus

Fig. 2. DC/DC converters commonly used and their input resistance. (a) Buck Converter; (b) boost converter; (c) buck–boost converter; (d) input

resistance versus d in CCM; (e) input resistance versus d in CCM and (f) input resistance versus d in CCM.

Fig. 3. Location of the operation point of a photovoltaic module.

34 J.M. Enrique et al. / Solar Energy 81 (2007) 31–38

deﬁning a ‘‘non-capture zone’’ for R

L

> R

MPP

values.

Fig. 4 shows the eﬀect graphically. The impedance at the

input of a buck converter is always a version scaled by a

factor greater than or equal to 1 (see Table 1) of the imped-

ance connected to its output (in our case R

L

). Therefore,

the MPP capture will only be possible for R

L

6 R

MPP

values.

4.2. Analysis of the module-boost converter-load

conﬁguration

The following expressions are deduced from Table 1 for

the boost converter:

lim

d!0

R

i-CCM

¼ lim

d!0

R

L

Á 1 Àd ð Þ

2

¼ R

L

ð13Þ

lim

d!1

R

i-CCM

¼ lim

d!1

R

L

Á 1 Àd ð Þ

2

¼ 0 ð14Þ

lim

d!0

R

i-DCM

¼ lim

d!0

4 Á R

L

1 þ

ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

1 þ

4d

2

K

_

_ _

2

¼ R

L

ð15Þ

lim

d!1

R

i-DCM

¼ lim

d!1

4 Á R

L

1 þ

ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

1 þ

4d

2

K

_

_ _

2

ð16Þ

In DCM K 6 K

crit

, therefore K 6 dÆ(1 À d)

2

. Taking this

condition in Eq. (16) into account, it is deduced that:

lim

d!1

R

i-DCM

6 lim

d!1

4 Á R

L

1 þ

ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

1 þ

4d

2

K

crit

_ _ _

2

¼ lim

d!1

4 Á R

L

1 þ

ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

1 þ

4d

2

dÁð1ÀdÞ

2

_ _ _

2

¼ 0 ð17Þ

Given that R

i-DCM

cannot be negative, it is clear that,

when d !1, the limit matches R

i-DCM

= 0. Being the

expressions of R

i

continuous in d, both for CCM and

DCM, it is deduced that R

i

can only be at the interval

[0, R

L

]. The maximum power point tracking system will

modify the value of R

i

, trying to get R

i

= R

MPP

. However,

this will not be possible if R

MPP

does not belong to the set

of values allowed for R

i

, that is, the system will not reach

the MPP if R

L

<R

MPP

. The behaviour is clearly opposite

to that mentioned in the previous section, and therefore

there is an inversion of zones with respect to the buck con-

verter. Fig. 5 shows this eﬀect. The impedance at the input

of a boost converter is always a lessened version in a factor

lower than or equal to 1 (see Table 1) of the impedance

connected to its output (R

L

in our case). Therefore, the

MPP capture will only be possible for R

L

PR

MPP

values.

4.3. Analysis of the module-buck/boost converter-load

conﬁguration

The following expressions are deduced from Table 1 for

the buck–boost converter:

lim

d!0

R

i-CCM

¼ lim

d!0

R

L

Á 1 Àd ð Þ

2

d

2

¼ 1 ð18Þ

lim

d!1

R

i-CCM

¼ lim

d!1

R

L

Á 1 Àd ð Þ

2

d

2

¼ 0 ð19Þ

lim

d!0

R

i-DCM

¼ lim

d!0

K Á R

L

d

2

¼ 1 ð20Þ

lim

d!1

R

i-DCM

¼ lim

d!1

K Á R

L

d

2

ð21Þ

In DCM K 6 K

crit

, therefore K 6 (1 À d)

2

. Taking this

condition in Eq. (21) into account, it is deduced that:

lim

d!1

R

i-DCM

6 lim

d!1

K

crit

Á R

L

d

2

¼ lim

d!1

ð1 ÀdÞ

2

Á R

L

d

2

¼ 0 ð22Þ

Given that R

i-DCM

cannot be negative, it is clear that the

limit, when d !1, matches R

i-DCM

= 0. For this conﬁgura-

tion, in accordance with the results from (18)–(22), and

knowing that R

i

is a continuous function in d, a scanning

of the duty cycle, d 2 [0, 1], allows all values of R

i

, i.e., R

i

can take any value between 0 and 1. Consequently, the

imposed restrictions for the two previous converter topolo-

gies do not aﬀect the buck–boost converter, and therefore

there is not ‘‘non capture zone’’. Fig. 6 shows this eﬀect.

This allows the photovoltaic solar facility to achieve the

MPP regardless of the value of R

L

, thus obtaining a higher

power point tracking eﬃciency.

5. Examples

To support the theoretic results analysed in the previous

section, we have simulated four photovoltaic systems

Fig. 4. Chart of MPP tracking with buck DC/DC converter.

Fig. 5. Chart of MPP tracking with boost DC/DC converter.

J.M. Enrique et al. / Solar Energy 81 (2007) 31–38 35

(using MATLAB). Three systems use a DC/DC converter

(each one of a diﬀerent type) with MPP tracking system,

and a fourth one uses a direct connection photovoltaic

module-load. Experimental values of cell temperature and

global irradiation corresponding to a clear day have been

used as input metereological data.

The aim is to evaluate the MPP-tracking eﬃciency of

each of the systems, calculated according to expression

(23):

g ¼

_

t

0

P

inst

ðtÞ Á dt

_

t

0

P

MPP

ðtÞ Á dt

ð23Þ

where P

inst

is the instantaneous power in the operating

point of the system and P

MPP

is the available power at

the photovoltaic module maximum power point under a gi-

ven cell temperature and irradiance (Hohm and Ropp,

2002). Given that according to (23) MPP-tracking eﬃ-

ciency is the quotient between the areas under each curve,

the closer the real curve to the P

MPP

(t) trajectory, the better

eﬃciency.

The meteorological data used for the study have been

measured in the laboratory of photovoltaic systems of

the University of Ma´laga (Spain).The measure of the cell

temperature was carried out by means of a PT100 coupled

to the later face of the module. The incident global irradi-

ation has been measured by means of a reference solar cell

installed in the same plane that the photovoltaic module.

Both signals were taken from the weather station with

one minute intervals from the data acquisition system,

Hydra (Fluke). The measured values for the day 3rd of

October of 2002 are shown in Fig. 7. The ‘SX60’ (BP)

model was selected as photovoltaic generator for the simu-

lation. Table 2 shows its parameters.

Fig. 8 shows the calculated trajectories of V

MPP

, and

I

MPP

, for the cited day for the SX60 module. It can be

observed that the I

MPP

is directly proportional to the inci-

dent irradiance while the V

MPP

varies depending on the cell

temperature. The variation of the impedance in the maxi-

mum power point, R

MPP

, throughout the day is shown in

Fig. 9. In this case, we obtained a daily average R

MPP

value

of 9 X. To guarantee the achievement of information on

the system’s behaviour when it operates with resistive loads

diﬀerent from R

MPP

, in our analysis we have diﬀerentiated

between loads higher and lower than average R

MPP

(specif-

ically, 5 X and 20 X).

Due to its simple and easy implementation, the maxi-

mum power point tracking in this work was made on the

basis of the well-known method ‘‘Perturbation and Obser-

Fig. 6. Chart of MPP tracking with buck–boost DC/DC converter. Note

that this converter allows MPP tracking in both directions.

Fig. 7. Temperature and irradiation values for a clear day in Ma´laga

(Spain).

Table 2

Photovoltaic module ‘SX60’ parameters

A = 1.2 Ideality factor of PN junction

E

g

= 1.12 eV Band gap energy

n

p

= 1 Number of parallel-connected modules

n

s

= 36 Number of series-connected cells

P

max

= 60 W Maximum power at standard conditions

a

V

max

= 16.8 V Voltage at the maximum power point

I

max

= 3.56 A Current at the maximum power point

NOTC = 47 °C Nominal Operating Cell Temperature

I

sc

= 3.87 A Short-circuit current at standard conditions

V

oc

= 21.06 V Open circuit voltage at standard conditions

k

v

= À 80 mV/°C V

oc

temperature coeﬃcient

k

i

= 0.065%/°C I

sc

temperature coeﬃcient

a

Standard conditions: 25 °C and 1000 W/m

2

.

Fig. 8. Maximum power point voltage V

MPP

(t) and current I

MPP

(t)

trajectories for the ‘SX60’ (BP) module for a clear day in Ma´laga (Spain).

36 J.M. Enrique et al. / Solar Energy 81 (2007) 31–38

vation P&O’’ (Hohm and Ropp, 2002; Hua and Shen,

1998; Hussein et al., 1995).

Fig. 10 shows the trajectories of the power supplied by the

load and the MPP power for the two diﬀerent values of R

L

.

It is observed that when the panel is directly connected to the

resistive load, without inserting any DC/DC converter, the

system will only operate at the maximum power point when

R

MPP

and R

L

match (see Fig. 9). If a buck converter is

inserted between the panel and the load (Fig. 11), we can

observe that the system is only able to follow the maximum

power point for not very high irradiation values (depending

on R

L

), i.e., when the maximum power point impedance

R

MPP

is relatively high. At maximum solar irradiation

hours, R

MPP

reaches its minimum values, and so the system

is unable to achieve the MPP. This is even more evident that

the higher R

L

is in relation to R

MPP

. When it is used a boost

converter, (Fig. 12), the systemis able to reach the maximum

power point only at maximum irradiation hours (low

R

MPP

), with a remarkable loss of MPP-tracking eﬃciency

at the initial and ﬁnal hours of the day.

Finally, when a buck–boost converter is used the

P

MPP

(t) and P(t) trajectories are graphically equal, with

values of 0.999 for the MPP-tracking eﬃciency. R

i

can take

any value with this converter. This allows the photovoltaic

solar system to reach the MPP regardless of the existing

irradiation level and R

L

, achieving a higher MPP-tracking

eﬃciency. Note that the MPP can be tracked for any R

L

value, regardless of its relationship with R

MPP

.

In Table 3, a comparative of the MPP-tracking eﬃ-

ciency provided by each of the conﬁgurations for the con-

cerned day of study is given. Observe that in all cases, the

Fig. 10. Maximum power point power trajectory P

MPP(t)

and power

supplied P(t) to the 5 X and 20 X loads, without DC/DC converter

between the photovoltaic module and the load.

Fig. 11. Maximum power point power trajectory P

MPP(t)

and power

supplied P(t) to the 5 X and 20 X loads, with buck converter between the

photovoltaic module and the load.

Fig. 9. Maximum power point impedance trajectory R

MPP(t)

for the

‘SX60’ (BP) module for a clear day in Ma´laga (Spain).

Fig. 12. Maximum power point power trajectory P

MPP(t)

and power

supplied P(t) to the 5 X and 20 X loads, with boost converter between the

photovoltaic module and the load.

Table 3

MPP-tracking eﬃciency obtained for each DC–DC converter conﬁgura-

tion and load

Load Without

converter

(%)

Buck

converter

(%)

Boost

converter

(%)

Buck–boost

converter

(%)

R

L

= 5 X 88.5 97.2 91.2 99.9

R

L

= 20 X 40.2 40.3 99.7 99.9

J.M. Enrique et al. / Solar Energy 81 (2007) 31–38 37

conﬁguration with buck–boost converter is the one that

presents the highest eﬃciency.

6. Conclusions

In this work we aimed at revealing the importance of the

correct choice of the DC/DC converter in a photovoltaic

facility in order to obtain its highest MPP-tracking eﬃ-

ciency. In this article we demonstrate that only the buck–

boost DC/DC converter is able to manage the facility to

follow the photovoltaic panel maximum power point at

all times, regardless of cell temperature, solar global irradi-

ation and connected load.

It is important to remark that the result obtained in the

analysis is independent from the MPP tracking system, i.e.,

however eﬃcient this system may be, the DC/DC converter

conﬁgurationimposes restrictions onit that it cannot sidestep.

‘‘Despite the fact that the study carried out in this work

is theoretical, it is important to note that from a practical

approach, the buck and boost converters are the most eﬃ-

cient topologies for a given price. While voltage ﬂexibility

varies, buck–boost and Cuk (Cuk is a type of structure

derived from the buck–boost topologies) converters are

always at eﬃciency or, alternatively, price disadvantage.

Nevertheless, there are already conﬁgurations of buck–

boost and Cuk converters where both the MOSFET and

the inductor are of a very low resistance, achieving eﬃcien-

cies as regards input power higher than 95% and hardly 2

or 3% lower than the buck and boost topologies.’’

According to the performed analysis, we dare to suggest

that a good practice could be including a buck–boost DC/

DC converter in photovoltaic solar facilities at the PV

array output and then connecting, after the converter, the

rest of the facility elements (load). This practice guarantees

the photovoltaic panel maximum power point tracking for

any solar irradiation, cell temperature and load conditions,

which could undoubtedly redound to the facility’s higher

system eﬃciency.

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