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The main design objective of photovoltaic (PV) systems has been, for a long time, to extract the maximum power from the PV array and inject it into the ac grid. Therefore, the maximum power point tracking (MPPT) of a uniformly irradiated PV array and the maximization of the conversion efficiency have been the main design issues. However, when the PV plant is connected to the grid, special attention has to be paid to the reliability of the system, the power quality, and the implementation of protection and grid synchronization functions. Modern power plants are required to maximize their energy production, requiring suitable control strategies to solve the problems related to the partial shading phenomena and different orientation of the PV modules toward the sun. Moreover, the new policy concerning the injection of reactive power into the grid makes the development of suitable topologies and control algorithms mandatory. A general view of actual solutions for applications of the PV energy systems is presented. This article covers several important issues, including the most reliable models used for simulation, which are useful in the design of control systems, and the MPPT function, particularly in distributed applications. The main topologies used in the PV power processing system and, finally, grid connection aspects are discussed, with emphasis on synchronization, protections, and integration.