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Photovoltaic Sample-and-Hold Circuit Enabling MPPT Indoors for Low-Power Systems

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3 Author(s)
Alex S. Weddell ; Electronics and Computer Science, Faculty of Physical and Applied Sciences, University of Southampton, UK ; Geoff V. Merrett ; Bashir M. Al-Hashimi

Photovoltaic (PV) energy harvesting is commonly used to power autonomous devices, and maximum power point tracking (MPPT) is often used to optimize its efficiency. This paper describes an ultra low-power MPPT circuit with a novel sample-and-hold and cold-start arrangement, enabling MPPT across the range of light intensities found indoors, which has not been reported before. The circuit has been validated in practice and found to cold-start and operate from 100 lux (typical of dim indoor lighting) up to 5000 lux with a 55 cm2 amorphous silicon PV module. It is more efficient than non-MPPT circuits, which are the state-of-the-art for indoor PV systems. The proposed circuit maximizes the active time of the PV module by carrying out samples only once per minute. The MPPT control arrangement draws a quiescent current draw of only 8 μA, and does not require an additional light sensor as has been required by previously reported low-power MPPT circuits.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems I: Regular Papers  (Volume:59 ,  Issue: 6 )