Maximum Power Point Tracker – MPPT

The power output of a solar array is used or manipulated by the components to which it is connected. A maximum power point tracker (MPPT) can be installed between the array and the electric motor to match the PV array’s output with the required current or voltage of the motor to be operated.

An MPPT is an electronic DC power to DC power converter, often called a ‘maximizer.’ There are other similar devices for minor pumping usage, one of which is known as a ‘linear current booster’ or a ‘booster.’

Solar Pump MPPT Controller
a) Without using an MPPT, a PV system’s installed capacity would be designed to give enough start-up current for the pump on a sunny day – but once the motor has started, the rest of that solar power would be wasted. b) Without an MPPT, a cloudy day could mean that the same system’s PV modules produce insufficient current even to start the pump’s motor.

Without an MPPT, the PV array would need to be oversized so that it can provide the start-up current requirement of the motor even though, once the motor has started, the pump’s current requirements drop and, at that point, the array can then produce more power than is needed (Figure: a).

Suppose the array has not been oversized to include some redundancy in cloudy weather. In that case, the array may not operate at a high enough current to start the motor, even though it would have enough current/power to run the motor once it has started (Figure: b).


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