Date of Award
Bachelor of Science
solar power, photovoltaic, cell, value, voltage
The operating characteristics of a photovoltaic (PV) solar panel are dependent upon the lighting and temperature conditions, as well as the characteristics of the energy storage device and/or loads that it feeds. PV panels normally operate at a fixed voltage and current for a given load and sunlight condition. The operating conditions will not necessarily produce the maximum possible power output of a solar panel for the set conditions. The efficiency of power delivery from a PV panel can be greatly increased by a Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT). An algorithm can be designed to shift the operating value to the maximum power point (MPP). A DC-to-DC converter can then be built to provide a battery with the highest possible power from the PV panel. In this project, the current and voltage output of a PV panel are measured and provided to a controller that continuously adjusts the PV operating point to produce the greatest average power output. The controller controls the duty cycle of a switch-mode DC-to-DC converter, which in turn provides a pulse-width-modulated (PWM) output to a battery bank. The converter will thus more closely match the battery’s storage impedance and provide a voltage that is proper to charge the battery. After testing, the system was able to operate at times near its maximum power but due to sampling issues this was not always the case.
Schwartz, Betsy, "Maximum Power Point Tracking Device for a Photovoltaic Panel" (2013). Honors Theses and Student Projects. 722.