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Maximum photovoltaic power tracking: an algorithm for rapidly changing atmospheric conditions

Maximum photovoltaic power tracking: an algorithm for rapidly changing atmospheric conditions

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As the maximum power operating point (MPOP) of photovoltaic (PV) power generation systems changes with changing atmospheric conditions (e.g. solar radiation and temperature), an important consideration in the design of efficient PV systems is to track the MPOP correctly. Many maximum power tracking (MPT) techniques have been considered in the past but techniques using microprocessors with appropriate MPT algorithms are favoured because of their flexibility and compatibility with different PV arrays. Although the efficiency of these MPT algorithms is usually high, it drops noticeably in cases of rapidly changing atmospheric conditions. The authors have developed a new MPT algorithm based on the fact that the MPOP of a PV generator can be tracked accurately by comparing the incremental and instantaneous conductances of the PV array. The work was carried out by both simulation and experiment, with results showing that the developed incremental conductance (IncCond) algorithm has successfully tracked the MPOP, even in cases of rapidly changing atmospheric conditions, and has higher efficiency than ordinary algorithms in terms of total PV energy transferred to the load.

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