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What is Maximum power point tracking or MPPT ?

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Maximum power point tracking, or MPPT for short, is a technology commonly used in wind turbines and photovoltaic solar energy systems. The purpose is to obtain the maximum power output in various situations.


Maximum power point tracking is mainly used in solar power generation, but its principles can also be applied to energy sources whose input power varies: such as optical energy transmission and thermophotovoltaic.


Photovoltaic solar systems may be connected to inverters, external grids, battery packs or other electronic loads.


But no matter what kind of load it is connected to, the problems to be dealt with by MPPT are similar, that is, the efficiency of solar cell power transmission is related to the amount of sunlight hitting the solar panel, and also related to the electronic characteristics of the load.


When the sunshine situation changes, the load curve that can provide the maximum power transmission efficiency also changes accordingly. If the load can be adjusted to match the load curve with the highest power transmission efficiency, the system will have the best efficiency.


The load characteristic at which power transfer is most efficient is called the maximum power point. The maximum power point tracking is to try to find the maximum power point and maintain the load characteristics at this power point.


Circuits can be designed to represent any load connected to a solar cell, and then convert voltage, current, or frequency to match other systems. Whereas maximum power point tracking finds the optimum load required for maximum available power.


There is a complex relationship between the temperature and the total resistance of a solar cell, so its output efficiency will have a nonlinear relationship, which can be expressed by a current-voltage characteristic curve.


The purpose of maximum power point tracking is to obtain the output of the solar cell and try to maintain the maximum power output under any environmental conditions.


Maximum power point tracking equipment is generally integrated into power conversion equipment, including voltage or current conversion, filtering, and redriving loads such as grids, batteries, or motors.


Solar inverters convert DC to AC and can integrate maximum power point tracking. This type of inverter calculates the output power based on the data of the solar module (I-V curve), and then adjusts the load to maximize the output power.


The power at the maximum power point (Pmpp) is the product of the maximum power point voltage (Vmpp) and current (Impp).


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