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The power-voltage characteristic of photovoltaic (PV) arrays operating under partial-shading conditions exhibits multiple local maximum power points (MPPs). In this paper, a new method to track the global MPP is presented, which is based on controlling a dc/dc converter connected at the PV array output, such that it behaves as a constant input-power load. The proposed method has the advantage that it can be applied in either stand-alone or grid-connected PV systems comprising PV arrays with unknown electrical characteristics and does not require knowledge about the PV modules configuration within the PV array. The experimental results verify that the proposed global MPP method guarantees convergence to the global MPP under any partial-shading conditions. Compared with past-proposed methods, the global MPP tracking process is accomplished after far fewer PV array power perturbation steps.