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Maximum power point tracking (MPPT) methods are essential for photovoltaic (PV) systems to take full advantage of the available solar energy. Over the past few years, an increasing number of new MPPT methods have been proposed in the literature, and they show better capability of capturing the maximum power point. The testing and evaluation procedure of any new MPPT method is a crucial step for assessing its robustness and performance. PV panel manufacturers always specify power output tolerances, ranging from ±2% to ±5%. Thus, nonideal factors might dominate the subsystem output and defeat any performance comparison attempt and might lead to inaccurate results. This paper highlights the main shortcomings of previous MPPT testing procedures and proposes a comprehensive testing approach using paired difference tests to evaluate the performance of MPPT. The dual channel bench system demonstrates a systematic framework to deal with the nonideal factors associated with PV manufacturing, quantify experimental data, and correctly illustrate the performance improvement of MPPT. The case study shows that the 1% improvement of MPPT could be easily overshadowed by the nonideal factors shown previously. The proposed test setup and analysis method provide the effective solution for evaluating the MPPT performance.
Date of Publication: July 2013