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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRIAL ELECTRONICS, VOL. 56, NO.

5, MAY 2009 1531

Low-Complexity MPPT Technique Exploiting the


PV Module MPP Locus Characterization
Vladimir V. R. Scarpa, Student Member, IEEE, Simone Buso, Member, IEEE, and Giorgio Spiazzi, Member, IEEE

AbstractThis paper proposes a method for tracking the max- A less complicated way of tracking the maximum power
imum power point (MPP) of a photovoltaic (PV) module that point (MPP) is through a convenient estimation technique,
exploits the relation existing between the values of module voltage based on an offline module characterization. In these meth-
and current at the MPP (MPP locus). Experimental evidence
shows that this relation tends to be linear in conditions of high ods, the optimal value of the PV voltage (VMPP ) or current
solar irradiation. The analysis of the PV module electrical model (IMPP ) is estimated as a function of the module short circuit
allows one to justify this result and to derive a linear approxima- current (ISC ) [14], [15], open circuit voltage (VOC ) [16][18],
tion of the MPP locus. Based on that, an MPP tracking strategy is or temperature (T ) [19]. Although estimation methods are
devised which presents high effectiveness, low complexity, and the generally much cheaper and simpler than those previously
inherent possibility to compensate for temperature variations by
periodically sensing the module open circuit voltage. The proposed mentioned based on hill climbing algorithms, they often rely on
method is particularly suitable for low-cost PV systems and has approximated relations which, in certain operating conditions,
been successfully tested in a solar-powered 55-W battery charger can drive the system excessively far from the true MPP, thus
circuit. significantly reducing the effectiveness of the power processing
Index TermsMaximum power point (MPP) tracking, stand- circuit. Therefore, their use has been limited mainly to low-cost
alone photovoltaic (PV) systems. low-power PV applications.
Intermediate solutions can also be devised, as the one dis-
I. I NTRODUCTION cussed in [20], where a linear relation between the values
of module voltage and current at the MPP is used to reduce

I N ORDER to ensure the optimal use of the available solar


energy, the tracking of the maximum power point (MPPT)
is an essential part of any photovoltaic (PV) system [1]. This
the convergence time in the P&O and IncCond methods. This
paper shows how and why the relation exploited in [20] can
actually be used as an alternative estimation technique, al-
function is implemented by suitably controlling the power lowing the implementation of a novel low-complexity MPPT
processing circuit which is almost always used as an interface method.
between the PV generator and the load or the energy accu- The analytical derivation of the estimation equation from
mulator. In the last few years, several novel MPPT methods the electrical model of a PV module allows one to identify
have been proposed, as well as improvements for the already its parameters, expressing them in terms of module quantities.
established ones [2][6]. Furthermore, the proposed solution suggests a simple and effec-
Many of those methods aim at tracking the maximum power tive way to compensate the estimation equation for temperature
operating point of a PV generator by satisfying, in a closed variations, which only requires the periodic sensing of the
loop regulation, the condition dPPV /dVPV = 0, where PPV VOC . As it will be further demonstrated, the proposed method
and VPV represent the PV module output power and voltage, presents better results when compared to other offline methods
respectively. As an example, the very popular Perturb and of comparably low complexity.
Observe (P&O) [7][10] and the Incremental Conductance This paper is organized as follows. In the first part, Section II,
(IncCond) [11][13] make use of this relation. Due to the the mathematical analysis of a PV module electrical model is
complexity of the required mathematical operations, a digital presented, which clarifies the underlying physical background
signal processor or a relatively powerful microcontroller are and derives the analytical expression of the MPP locus. In
typically needed to implement them, which increases the cost the following part, comprising Sections IIIV, the method
of the power processing circuit. is presented, the effect of temperature on its performance is
discussed, and its effectiveness is compared with that of the
Manuscript received April 21, 2008; revised October 17, 2008. First pub- very popular Fractional VOC method. Finally, in Sections VI
lished November 25, 2008; current version published April 29, 2009. This work and VII, the experimental application of the proposed strategy
was supported by the Program Alban, the European Union Program of High
Level Scholarships for Latin America, under Scholarship E05D049801BR.
to a 55-Wp PV-powered battery charger is discussed.
V. V. R. Scarpa and G. Spiazzi are with the Department of Infor-
mation Engineering, University of Padova, 35131 Padova, Italy (e-mail:
scarpa@dei.unipd.it; spiazzi@dei.unipd.it). II. MPP L OCUS C HARACTERIZATION
S. Buso is with the Department of Technology and Management of Indus-
trial Systems, University of Padova, 36100 Vicenza, Italy (e-mail: simone. In a PV module, the MPP locus can be defined as the couple
buso@unipd.it). (VMPP , IMPP ), expressed as a function of module irradiation
Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available online
at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org. at a given operating temperature. The basic result presented in
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TIE.2008.2009618 this paper is how to find a linear equation that approximates the

0278-0046/$25.00 2009 IEEE


1532 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRIAL ELECTRONICS, VOL. 56, NO. 5, MAY 2009

TABLE I
PV MODULE DATA AND SIMULATION PARAMETERS

Fig. 1. Equivalent electrical model of a PV module with N series-connected


cells.

MPP locus and consequently allows one to implement a low-


complexity MPPT method.
We start the analytical derivation of the module MPP locus
from the usual equivalent electrical model shown in Fig. 1.
The model represents a generic PV module, composed by N
series-connected cells, each of them presenting an equivalent
series resistance RS and shunt resistance RSH . As usual, the
current source Ig represents the photogenerated current, while
Fig. 2. Difference between VOC and VMPP for several irradiation conditions
series-connected diodes Di are lumped representations of the in a 55-Wp PV module (dots) and in the corresponding model (solid line),
internal electron-hole recombination processes. We can write according to (6).
the following expression for the module current IPV :
(6), which expresses the difference between VOC and VMPP and
 V +N R I 
PV S PV VPV + N RS IPV determines the relation between the variables (VMPP , IMPP )
IPV = Ig Isat e N (nVT ) 1   
N RSH VMPP
(1)
VOC VMPP = N RS IMPP + nVT ln +1
N nVT
where
= N (RS IMPP + VDO ) . (6)
Eg
Isat = C T e 3 VT
(2)
In (6), the term named Differential Offset Voltage (VDO ) has
is the cell inverse saturation current, and n is the so-called ide- been implicitly defined. We will now introduce the hypothesis,
ality factor. In (2), C is a suitable constant (in Ampere/ K3 ), which we will verify in the immediate following, that VDO
VT = kT /q is the temperature equivalent voltage, being k the variations with irradiation can be neglected, and hence, the
Boltzmanns constant, q the electron charge, T the temperature difference between VOC and VMPP , expressed by (6), increases
in kelvin, and Eg represents the energy gap of silicon in linearly with IMPP .
electronvolts. Experimental verification of (6) has been done on a 36-cell
Since in almost all practical cases the cell shunt resistance module by Helios Technology (Model H580) whose data, given
RSH is relatively high, the current through it can be neglected by the manufacturer [21], are presented in Table I. The same
and, consequently, the module output power can be well ap- table also shows the parameter values needed to emulate the
proximated by modules characteristics with the model of Fig. 1. The obtained
results are shown in Fig. 2. As can be seen, the measured values
  V +N R I 
follow the linear trend corresponding to (6).
PPV
PV S PV
= VPV Ig Isat e N (nVT ) 1 . (3) However, the relation between VMPP and IMPP with respect
to irradiation is not linear, because VOC is a logarithmic func-
Calculating the partial derivative of (3) with respect to VPV tion of Ig , as clearly shown by (5). Nonetheless, it is possible
and imposing it to be zero, it is possible to derive the following to linearize this relation for an interval where the value of VOC
relation, valid at the MPP: is sufficiently insensitive to irradiation. Indeed, from (5), it is
VMPP +N RS IMPP
  possible to derive the sensitivity of VOC to Ig (SVOC ,Ig ) as
Ig VMPP
+1=e N nVT
1+ . (4)
Isat N nVT dVOC Ig 1
SVOC ,Ig =  . (7)
VOC dIg Ig
ln Isat + 1
Equation (1) can now be rearranged to approximate the value
of VOC as
If we predefine a threshold value for SVOC ,Ig (e.g., 5%),
 
Ig from (7), we can calculate a minimum irradiation condition,
VOC = N nVT ln +1 (5) corresponding to a photogenerated current Ig , above which
Isat
the sensitivity is lower than the selected threshold, at a given
where the term related to RSH has been neglected once again. temperature T . Associated to Ig and T are the values VOC

,

Combining (4) and (5) and rearranging the terms, we obtain IMPP , VMPP shown in Fig. 3 , and VT . Now, the desired
SCARPA et al.: MPPT TECHNIQUE EXPLOITING THE PV MODULE MPP LOCUS CHARACTERIZATION 1533

Fig. 3. (Black lines) IV curves for several irradiation conditions, (blue line)
the MPP locus curve, and (red line) the VLR, calculated for Ig = 2.5 A. Fig. 4. Simulated effectiveness of the VLR as a function of irradiation, for
three different values of RS .
TABLE II
VLR PARAMETERS AT T = 25 C

linear relation, approximating the MPP, will be defined as the


tangent to the MPP locus curve for Ig = Ig . The tangent line is
named Voltage Linear Reference (VLR), and is shown in Fig. 3.
As can be seen, the choice of the irradiation range guarantees a Fig. 5. (VDO + n VT ) obtained through simulation, with the parameters of
Table I, for three different temperature conditions.
maximum relative VOC variation of about 4.9%. The VLR can
also be analytically derived from (6) as any Ig > Ig . Beneath this value, the effectiveness decreases,

reaching a value of = 0.9 for Ig = 0.3 A.
dVOC
VLR N RS IMPP + VOFFSET (8)
dIMPP Ig =Ig
III. P ROPOSED M ETHOD

where VOFFSET = n
VOC + (VDO and VT )is cal-
VDO Based on the previous analysis, it is possible to implement
culated for Ig = Ig . Considering that IMPP is roughly pro- a simple MPPT method by forcing the PV module to operate
portional to Ig (see [14] and [15]), dVOC /dIMPP can be over the VLR. The MPPT can be based on any dcdc switching
calculated as converter, driven by a suitable input voltage (or input current)
  control circuitry that, using the VLR equation over the values of
dVOC dVOC dIg
n VT
= . (9) module voltage and current, automatically drives the module to
dIMPP Ig =Ig dIg dIMPP Ig =Ig
IMPP the point where the VLR intercepts the current IV curve. At
that point, the equilibrium condition VPV = VMPP (or IPV =
The parameters used to analytically derive the VLR for the IMPP ) holds.
simulated PV module are presented in Table II. Of course, the effectiveness of the method is conditioned
According to (8) and (9), for the particular case where by the accuracy of (8), which can be very high for high
nVT /IMPP

> RS , the VLR has negative slope. However, this irradiationand thus high powerconditions, as shown in
is not a necessary condition for the proposed method to operate Fig. 4. Furthermore, in order to guarantee the same performance
properly, since (6) is valid independently from the value of RS . for any temperature condition, the proposed method must also
Nevertheless, as will be seen in Section VI, the slope sign has a include some kind of compensation for temperature variations.
role in the way the method is implemented. This will be discussed in the next section.
In order to evaluate the accuracy of the proposed approx-
imation, the electrical power of each point of the VLR was
IV. E FFECT OF T EMPERATURE V ARIATIONS
calculated and compared with the power of the MPP locus at
the same irradiation condition. The ratio between these two It is known that, assuming constant irradiation, the value of
values, which we can define as the effectiveness () of the VLR VOC in a PV module varies by about 2.5 mV/ C per cell

approximation, is shown in Fig. 4. As can be seen, in order to [19], and thus the value of VOC is a function of temperature.
assess the sensitivity of the achievable effectiveness to different In addition, according to (6), it is expected that the MPP locus
values of RS , two other VLRs were calculated through (8). is shifted by the same amount, since it is normally acceptable
In the three cases, the effectiveness is very near to unity for to consider RS independent from temperature and, from Fig. 5,
1534 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRIAL ELECTRONICS, VOL. 56, NO. 5, MAY 2009

Fig. 7. Effectiveness of the VLR method for several values of irradiation


condition at Voc sensing (marked with points).
Fig. 6. MPPs for T = 0 C, T = 25 C, T = 50 C, and (black lines) their
respective VLRs calculated through (7).

one can observe that VDO variation with temperature can also
be neglected.

Furthermore, if we neglect the IMPP variation with tempera-
ture, and considering that, as shown in Fig. 5, the sum (VDO +
n VT ) varies only about 6% for a 50 C temperature variation,
one can conclude that not only the characterization for the
VLR calculation can be done at any temperature condition, but
also that it is possible to compensate for temperature variations

simply by sampling the value of VOC (T ). This is demonstrated
by Fig. 6, where the VLR, calculated for T = T = 25 C,
approximates the MPP locus with similar accuracy for any
Fig. 8. (Blue lines) Effectiveness of the VLR method and (red lines) the
temperature condition, as long as VOC is updated. Fractional Voc method for three different temperature conditions.
Hence, to take advantage of this property, a practical imple-
mentation of the method would require the periodic sensing the VLR, instead, remains the same one, calculated offline.
of VOC at the irradiation condition that corresponds to Ig = Therefore, in the presence of variable irradiation conditions, the
Ig . However, this solution would not be convenient, since it system moves across several effectiveness curves, each related
requires the additional sensing of Ig or the use of an irra- to the particular, more recently sampled, VOC value.
diation sensor. Therefore, this paper proposes a simpler and Using the parameters of Table I and temperature T = 25 C,
cost-effective implementation: the value of VOC is sensed and Fig. 7 shows several effectiveness curves of the proposed
simply inserted in (8), without any concern about temperature method for the entire Ig range. The curves differ in the value
or irradiation conditions at the moment of sensing. As it will be of Ig at which VOC has been sensed, given by the marked point
further discussed in the next section, it will not only determine on each curve. As an example, assuming that VOC is sensed
the required compensation, but also inherently increase the for Ig = 1.5 A (point A in Fig. 7), if the value of Ig decreases
effectiveness of the estimation, particularly for lower irradia- to Ig = 0.2 A (point B), the operation point will go far from
tion conditions, i.e., those below Ig . Given the relatively slow the MPP, as predicted in Section II. However, if a new sample
thermal time constants, this only requires the periodic sampling of VOC is taken, this will result in more suitable parameters
of VOC at a very low frequency, which helps to minimize for the estimation equation, increasing the effectiveness. Please
the negative impact on the effectiveness of the temperature note that the same fact is observed in the inverse situation, i.e.,
compensation process. if irradiation increases between two VOC samples.

V. S TUDY OF THE M ETHOD E FFECTIVENESS B. Comparison With the Fractional VOC Method
This section presents the study of the effectiveness of the The proposed solution will now be compared with the
proposed method. First, the impact of the proposed solution for F racVOC method ([12] and [13]) that estimates the VMPP
temperature compensation on the effectiveness of the method value as
will be considered. Later, the VLR method will be compared
to the very popular Fractional VOC (F racVOC ) method, to VFrac = kFrac VOC . (10)
evaluate the effectiveness improvement obtained with respect
to a method with similar implementation complexity. The idea is to compare the effectiveness of each method as
a function of irradiation and temperature. Parameter kFrac was
defined as kFrac = 0.75, and the VLR has the same parameters
A. Influence of Irradiation at VOC Sampling
presented in Table I. For each value of Ig , the VOC was sampled
As explained above, during operation, VOC is periodically and the effectiveness of each method, for the three values of
sensed, and VOFFSET is adjusted accordingly. The slope of temperature, was calculated and reported in Fig. 8.
SCARPA et al.: MPPT TECHNIQUE EXPLOITING THE PV MODULE MPP LOCUS CHARACTERIZATION 1535

TABLE III
COMPARISON OF THE MEAN EFFECTIVENESS FOR
VLR AND F racVOC METHODS

The average value of the effectiveness (m ) for each method


and for the range of Ig defined above can be calculated as

m
i
i=1
m (11)
m
where m is the total number of Ig samples. Applying (11)
to the results, the mean effectiveness of each method for the
three simulated temperature conditions can be derived, and
is presented in Table III. As can be seen, in any condition,
the proposed solution offers better results than the F racVOC
method.

VI. M ETHOD I MPLEMENTATION


For a given PV module, it might be not so immediate to
measure all the parameter values required by (8). A more
Fig. 9. Convergence process of the proposed MPPT strategy. (a) Explanation
convenient way to implement the proposed solution consists in of the process. (b) Example of convergence to the MPP (simulation: VMPP =
the graphic determination of the VLR over offline measured 16 V, IMPP = 2.3 A).
IV curves. Then, the VLR can be arranged to generate a
reference value for the module voltage, through an equation of As shown in Fig. 9(a), starting from the condition VPV =
the form S
VOC , both the calculated Iref and the error are negative. As
the value of IPV increases, thanks to the integral controllers
Vref = Req IPV + VOC
S
Veq (12) action and to a proper organization of the modulator, the error
S decreases in absolute value, until the steady-state equilibrium
where VOC represents the periodically sampled VOC while
point is reached, at the intersection between the VLR and the
Req and Veq are the parameters extracted from the analysis of
module IV curve. It is worth recalling that, if the VLR esti-
the IV curves. Their physical interpretation is given by the
mation error is low, the equilibrium point will be very close to
comparison of (12) and (8).
the MPP, as we have shown in Section V. Once the equilibrium
Since the parameters Req and Veq are related to physical
point is reached, a further increase of the current is prevented
characteristics of the considered PV module, it is expected that
by the error sign reversal. Therefore, the equilibrium point is
they will be only affected by fabrication process tolerances,
inherently stable. An interesting consequence of this fact is that,
resulting in a reasonable repeatability, at least within the same
with the proposed method, phenomena like oscillations around
production lot.
the MPP or control losses due to sudden illumination varia-
If needed, (12) can also be straightforwardly transformed to
tions (that can take place with other methods, e.g., P&O and
give a reference value for the module current Iref
IncCond) are not possible. As can be recognized, the situation
shown in Fig. 9(a) is general and applies to all the operating
Iref = VPV VOC S
+Veq /Req = VPV VOC S
+Veq Geq .
conditions. Therefore, the convergence to the equilibrium point
(13)
is guaranteed by the hardware organization, i.e., the system will
With the help of Fig. 9, we would now like to illustrate the always move toward the equilibrium point, independently from
methods convergence to the MPP. In doing that, we assume its initial conditions.
that we are dealing with a current controlled dcdc converter, Of course, we need to make sure that the small signal stability
whose controller has, at least, an integral characteristic and is around the equilibrium point is guaranteed as well. Indeed, the
designed to guarantee a suitable stability margin, in particular current reference generation is based on the measured module
when (13) is used to determine the current set point. voltage and, therefore, represents a further feedback loop, with
In addition, we suppose the pulse width modulation (PWM) a purely proportional compensator in it, whose gain is equal to
modulator is organized so that, when the PV module is such Geq (13). In order to guarantee the small signal stability of this
that Req < 0, IPV increases for a negative current error. The controller, i.e., its capability to steadily maintain the module on
opposite must occur if Req > 0, so that we are always closing the equilibrium point of Fig. 9(a), rather than oscillating around
a negative feedback loop. it, the crossover frequency and phase margin of the external
1536 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRIAL ELECTRONICS, VOL. 56, NO. 5, MAY 2009

TABLE IV
CONVERTER COMPONENT VALUES

for the reasons explained above. This guarantees the re-


quired negative feedback for the convergence process shown
in Fig. 9. The parameters of the circuit are presented in
Table IV.
It is worth noting that the proposed method is not in any way
topology dependent and can be adapted to all types of convert-
Fig. 10. Battery charger schematic with the proposed control strategy. ers with input current or input voltage control. The choice of
the buckboost topology is only motivated by practical reasons,
loop have to be properly chosen. As the loop gain cannot be as it allows both series and parallel connection of batteries. In
modified (it is imposed by the VLR), a simple and robust way particular applications, the choice of an optimized topology is,
to do that is by limiting the loop bandwidth, to give to the of course, recommended. As shown in Fig. 10, even though
loop gain a first-order compensated behavior. This result can be Iref is calculated by a microcontroller, it passes through a D/A
obtained reducing the current controller speed of response, i.e., converter and feeds an analog closed loop current controller,
adjusting the current controller gain until a properly damped re- to avoid the need for fast A/D conversion and digital PWM
sponse is achieved. Please note that this does not imply any real modulation.
performance penalization, as the required speed of response Given the simple operations involved in the Iref
for an effective MPPT does not need to be very high. As we calculationsum and multiplication between a sensed variable
will show in the following (Fig. 10), in our implementation, and a predefined constantand the low repetition frequency
the reference current is digitally generated, even if the current typically below 1 kHza simple 8-bit microcontroller has
controller is still implemented by an analog circuit. In this been used, whose high quantity price is below 1USD.
case, to avoid any stability problem, it is only required to keep This is, in fact, one of the advantages of the proposed solution
the digital controller update, or iteration, frequency fMPPT when compared to more sophisticated methods, such as P&O
high enough to introduce a negligible delay in the reference and IncCond. These algorithms need the calculation of the
generation loop. We observed that setting the reference update module power, i.e., the multiplication of two sensed variables,
frequency, at least, two or three times higher than the cur- and, therefore, cannot take advantage of any of the optimized
rent controller bandwidth guarantees a satisfactory response. multiplication routines that can be generally used, in low-cost
Indeed, in these conditions, the digital implementation of the microcontrollers, when one of the multiplication parameters is
current reference generator behaves very much like the sampled a constant.
data version of an analog one and does not pose any additional A flow chart of the algorithm executed by the microcontroller
stability problem. Of course, the iteration frequency must also is shown in Fig. 11. The frequency of the MPPT calculation,
be compatible with the reference computation time, which is according the aforementioned considerations, has been defined
limited by the A/D and D/A conversion speed and by the time as fMPPT = 200 Hz, while the value of VOC is sampled every
required for the numerical calculation of Iref (13). However, 5 minutes.
unless a very low-performance digital control hardware is
adopted, there is normally no problem to achieve an acceptable
VII. E XPERIMENTAL R ESULTS
speed of response. An example of the typical response that can
be obtained with a proper design is shown in Fig. 9(b), where The aforementioned, practical way to obtain the equation of
the module voltage, current and power are shown, together with the VLR is shown in Fig. 12, where, after defining the value of
the current reference, digitally generated according to the VLR Ig = 2.5 A, the MPPs at this condition and at two other ones
equation (13). The reference update frequency is, in this case, in the vicinity of Ig are connected by a straight line. This line
equal to 200 Hz, as in our experimental prototype. represents the VLR.
In order to validate the proposed method, an experimental As can be seen, the process can be repeated for any temper-
setup was built, based on the buckboost topology, that operates ature condition, since, as we have shown, the slope of the VLR
as a battery charger, as shown in Fig. 10. The implementation is practically insensitive to this parameter. Once the control
is conventional, except for an additional logic switch, inserted parameters are extracted, the proposed method can be applied
in the output of the PWM block. straightforwardly.
It determines if the MOSFET will be driven by the duty Fig. 13(a) shows the dynamic behavior of the system for an
cycle D, if Req > 0, or by its complement (1-D), if Req < 0, irradiation decrease. As it can be observed, while the irradiation
SCARPA et al.: MPPT TECHNIQUE EXPLOITING THE PV MODULE MPP LOCUS CHARACTERIZATION 1537

Fig. 11. Flowchart of the Iref computation algorithm.

Fig. 13. (a) Dynamic behavior of the system for an irradiation decrease. (From
top to bottom) Module voltage (2 V/div), module power (20 W/div), module
current (0.5 A/div), current reference (1.2 A/div). Horizontal scale: 50 ms/div.
(b) Same transition over the IV plane.

Fig. 12. VLR determination for two different temperature conditions.

varies, the module operation smoothly moves over the VLR.


The Iref oscillation visible in the steady state condition is due to
the limit cycle caused by the finite resolution of the calculation. Fig. 14. (Lower black line) Maximum available power, (gray line) average
In Fig. 13(b), the same process is represented in the IV plane. extracted power, and (upper black line) the effectiveness of the MPPT.
Since the irradiation step occurs between two samples of VOC ,
the effectiveness obviously decreases in the new irradiation This paper has shown why and under what hypotheses the MPP
condition, from = 0.99 to = 0.91. The effectiveness of locus can be well approximated by a line. Once the param-
the circuit for an entire sunny day measurement is shown in eters of the estimation equation are extrapolated from offline
Fig. 14. measurements, the method allows one to track the MPP of the
It was calculated as the ratio between maximum available module requiring only the measurement of the input voltage
power and extracted power (thus not including the converter and current. As any other estimation method, its effectiveness
efficiency, by the way about 85% on average). As can be can be impaired by variations in the operating conditions.
seen, it is very close to 100% in the higher irradiation con- However, due to the effect of the module series resistance, the
ditions, remaining above 90% even for the lower irradiation method will present better results in the high irradiation, high
conditions. power conditions, with respect to the conventional solutions.
Furthermore, this paper shows how, by simply measuring the
module open circuit voltage, it is possible to compensate for
VIII. C ONCLUSION
temperature variations. The method has been implemented in
This paper has presented an MPPT method that is based on a low-cost 8-bit microcontroller and tested in a battery charger
the offline characterization of the MPP locus of a PV module. application with satisfactory results.
1538 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRIAL ELECTRONICS, VOL. 56, NO. 5, MAY 2009

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Jul. 2008.
[5] K. K. Tse, B. M. T. Ho, H. S.-H. Chung, and S. Y. R. Hui, A comparative Vladimir V. R. Scarpa (S05) was born in
study of maximum-power-point trackers for photovoltaic panels using Uberlndia, Brazil, in 1980. He received the B.Sc.
switching-frequency modulation scheme, IEEE Trans. Ind. Electron., and M.Sc. degrees in electrical engineering from
vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 410418, Apr. 2004. the Federal University of Uberlndia, Uberlndia, in
[6] T. Esram and P. L. Chapman, Comparison of photovoltaic array max- 2003 and 2005, respectively. He is currently working
imum power point tracking techniques, IEEE Trans. Energy Convers., toward the Ph.D. degree in information engineering
vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 439449, Jun. 2007. at the University of Padova, Padova, Italy.
[7] W. J. A. Teulings, J. C. Marpinard, A. Capel, and D. OSullivan, A new His research interests include power electronics
maximum power point tracking system, in Proc. 24th Annu. IEEE Power applied to renewable energy sources and digital con-
Electron. Spec. Conf., 1993, pp. 833838. trol of switching power supplies.
[8] D. Sera, R. Teodorescu, J. Hantschel, and M. Knoll, Optimized max-
imum power point tracker for fast-changing environmental conditions,
IEEE Trans. Ind. Electron., vol. 55, no. 7, pp. 26292637, Jul. 2008.
[9] E. Koutroulis, K. Kalaitzakis, and N. C. Voulgaris, Development of a Simone Buso (M97) received the M.Sc. degree
microcontroller-based, photovoltaic maximum power point tracking con- in electronic engineering and the Ph.D. degree in
trol system, IEEE Trans. Power Electron., vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 4654, industrial electronics from the University of Padova,
Jan. 2001. Padova, Italy, in 1992 and 1997, respectively.
[10] W. Xiao, W. G. Dunford, P. R. Palmer, and A. Capel, Application of He is currently an Associate Professor of electron-
centered differentiation and steepest descent to maximum power point ics with the Department of Technology and Manage-
tracking, IEEE Trans. Ind. Electron., vol. 54, no. 5, pp. 25392549, ment of Industrial Systems, University of Padova.
May 2007. His main research interests are in the industrial and
[11] F. Liu, S. Duan, F. Liu, B. Liu, and Y. Kang, A variable step size INC power electronics fields and are specifically related
MPPT method for PV systems, IEEE Trans. Ind. Electron., vol. 55, no. 7, to dc/dc and ac/dc converters, digital control and ro-
pp. 26222628, Jul. 2008. bust control of power converters, solid-state lighting,
[12] A. Brambilla, M. Gambarara, A. Garutti, and F. Ronchi, New approach to and renewable energy sources.
photovoltaic arrays maximum power point tracking, in Proc. 30th Annu.
IEEE Power Electron. Spec. Conf., 1999, pp. 632637.
[13] Y. Kuo, T. Liang, and J. Chen, Novel maximum-power-point-tracking Giorgio Spiazzi (S92M95) received the M.Sc.
controller for photovoltaic energy conversion system, IEEE Trans. Ind. degree (cum laude) in electronic engineering and
Electron., vol. 48, no. 3, pp. 594s601s, Jun. 2001. the Ph.D. degree in industrial electronics from the
[14] T. Noguchi, S. Togashi, and R. Nakamoto, Short-current pulse based University of Padova, Padova, Italy, in 1988 and
adaptive maximum-power-point tracking for photovoltaic power genera- 1993, respectively.
tion system, in Proc. IEEE Int. Symp. Ind. Electron., 2000, pp. 157162. He is currently an Associate Professor with the
[15] S. Yuvarajan and S. Xu, Photo-voltaic power converter with a simple Department of Information Engineering, Univer-
maximum-power-point-tracker, in Proc. Int. Symp. Circuits Syst., 2003, sity of Padova. His main research interests are in
pp. III-399III-402. the fields of power-factor correctors, soft-switching
[16] J. J. Schoeman and J. D. van Wyk, A simplified maximal power controller techniques, lamp ballasts, renewable energy appli-
for terrestrial photovoltaic panel arrays, in Proc. 13th Annu. IEEE Power cations, and electromagnetic compatibility in power
Electron. Spec. Conf., 1982, pp. 361367. electronics.