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An efficient, cost-effective maximum power point tracking (MPPT) algorithm is required to improve the energy utilization efficiency of low power photovoltaic (PV) systems. This paper presents an experimental evaluation of the incremental conductance MPPT algorithm when employed by a standalone PV pumping system, using an experimental installation comprised of a 1080-Wp photovoltaic array connected to a 1-kW permanent magnet dc motor-centrifugal pump set. Particular focus is given to the evaluation of the two commonly utilized implementation techniques: reference voltage perturbation and direct duty ratio perturbation. The influence of algorithm parameters on system behavior is investigated and the energy utilization efficiency is calculated for different weather conditions. The performance of the incremental conductance algorithm is compared to that of the commonly used perturb and observe MPPT algorithm and the various advantages and drawbacks of each technique are identified.
Date of Publication: Jan. 2013