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Photovoltaic scavenging circuits have been presented to reduce installation and maintenance costs of wireless sensor networks. When small-size photovoltaic modules are adopted, optimizing the efficiency of the harvesting process and tracking the maximum power point (MPP) becomes very difficult, and the development of a photovoltaic harvester has to be preceded by extensive simulations. The paper focuses on the definition of the model for a small PV cell allowing the simulation of harvester systems. The model is validated on a case study of MPPT circuit for sensor networks.