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The energy utilization efficiency of commercial photovoltaic (PV) pumping systems can be significantly improved by employing simple perturb and observe (P&O) maximum power point tracking algorithms. Two such P&O implementation techniques, reference voltage perturbation and direct duty ratio perturbation, are commonly utilized in the literature but no clear criteria for the suitable choice of method or algorithm parameters have been presented. This paper presents a detailed theoretical and experimental comparison of the two P&O implementation techniques on the basis of system stability, performance characteristics, and energy utilization for standalone PV pumping systems. The influence of algorithm parameters on system behavior is investigated and the various advantages and drawbacks of each technique are identified for different weather conditions. Practical results obtained using a 1080-Wp PV array connected to a 1-kW permanent magnet dc motor-centrifugal pump set show very good agreement with the theoretical analysis and numerical simulations.