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This paper presents a maximum power point tracking approach for a photovoltaic system using the dividing rectangles algorithm. The new approach overcomes some weaknesses of the existing methods such as the perturb and observe method as it is capable of searching for global maximum. This is particularly important for a system that is partially shaded. To validate the performance of the proposed scheme, experimental studies have been conducted. The results have shown that the proposed approach is robust and possesses a fast tracking speed.