Solar Energy 81 (2007) 31–38
www.elsevier.com/locate/solener
J.M. Enrique ^{a}^{,} * , E. Dura´ n ^{a} , M. SidrachdeCardona ^{b}^{,}^{1} , J.M. Andu´ jar ^{a}
^{a} Departamento de Ingenierı´a Electro´ nica, de Sistemas Informa´ ticos y Automa´ tica, Universidad de Huelva, Spain ^{b} Departamento de Fı´sica Aplicada, II, Universidad de Ma´ laga, Spain
Received 16 May 2005; received in revised form 1 March 2006; accepted 15 June 2006 Available online 24 August 2006
Communicated by: Associate Editor Hansjo¨ rg Gabler
Abstract
The operating point of a photovoltaic generator that is connected to a load is determined by the intersection point of its characteristic curves. In general, this point is not the same as the generator’s maximum power point. This diﬀerence means losses in the system per formance. DC/DC converters together with maximum power point tracking systems (MPPT) are used to avoid these losses. Diﬀerent algorithms have been proposed for maximum power point tracking. Nevertheless, the choice of the conﬁguration of the right converter has not been studied so widely, although this choice, as demonstrated in this work, has an important inﬂuence in the optimum perfor mance of the photovoltaic system. In this article, we conduct a study of the three basic topologies of DC/DC converters with resistive load connected to photovoltaic modules. This article demonstrates that there is a limitation in the system’s performance according to the type of converter used. Two fundamental conclusions are derived from this study: (1) the buck–boost DC/DC converter topology is the only one which allows the followup of the PV module maximum power point regardless of temperature, irradiance and connected load and (2) the connection of a buck–boost DC/DC converter in a photovoltaic facility to the panel output could be a good practice to improve performance. 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Photovoltaic module; DC/DC converter; I–V curve; Maximum power point tracker; Losses
1. Introduction
DC/DC converters are widely used in photovoltaic gen erating systems as an interface between the photovoltaic panel and the load, allowing the followup of the maximum power point (MPP). Its main task is to condition the energy generated by the array of cells following a speciﬁc control strategy (Hua and Shen, 1998; Hussein et al., 1995;
^{*} Corresponding author. Tel.: +34 959 21 7374/7655/7671/7656; fax:
+34 959 017304. Email addresses: juanm.enrique@diesia.uhu.es (J.M. Enrique), msi drach@ctima.uma.es (M. SidrachdeCardona). ^{1} Tel.: +34 952132722/23; fax: +34 952131450.
0038092X/$  see front matter 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.solener.2006.06.006
Masoum et al., 2002). The DC/DC conversion process implies in turn an associated eﬀect of impedance transfor mation, i.e., the input impedance shows a dependence on a number of parameters such as load resistance, duty cycle, etc. In this sense, converters are similar to transformers when they are used as impedance adaptors, except that in converters the adaptation parameter is not the turns ratio between the secondary and primary ones, but the duty cycle d, which can be governed electronically (Singer, 1991; Jingquan et al., 2001; Tse et al., 2002, 2004), a fact that corresponds to the maximum power point tracking system (MPPT). This eﬀect, which is the basis of MPPT systems, also shows an odd property: certain input imped ance values can be either reached or not, depending on the
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J.M. Enrique et al. / Solar Energy 81 (2007) 31–38
Nomenclature 

d 
duty cycle 
q 
electro´ n charge (1.602 · 10 ^{} ^{1}^{9} coulombs) 

g 
MPPtracking eﬃciency 
R 
_{i} 
input resistance 

A 
ideality factor of PN junction 
R 
_{L} 
load resistance 

C 
capacitance 
R 
_{M}_{P}_{P} 

I 
current supplied by the photovoltaic array 
R 
_{P} 
maximum power point impedance intrinsic parallel resistance 

I _{L} 
photocurrent generated by solar radiation 
I _{S} 
reverse saturation current 

I _{M}_{P}_{P} maximum power point current 
R _{S} 
intrinsic series resistance 

K 
Boltzmann constant (1.38 · 10 ^{} ^{2}^{3} J/K) 
T 
temperature 

L 
inductance 
T _{C} 
conmutation period 

n 
_{P} 
number of parallelconnected cells 
V 

n 
_{S} 
number of seriesconnected cells 
V _{M}_{P}_{P} voltage supplied by the photovoltaic array maximum power point voltage 

P 
power supplied by the photovoltaic array 

P _{M}_{P}_{P} power of the maximum power point 

I 
" ¼ n _{P} I _{L} I _{s} 
" 
q 

S þ IR _{S} V n ^{n} P 
. AKT 
1 # 
V n S 
_{þ} IR _{S} n P 
# 
ð1Þ 

P ¼ I V 
e 
R P 
ð2Þ 

" " P ¼ n _{P} V I _{L} I _{s} e q dP 

n 
S þ P R _{S} V V n _{P} 
. AKT 
1 # 
V n S 
_{þ} P R _{S} V n _{P} 
# 
ð3Þ 

R P 


dV MPP 
¼ 0 
ð4Þ 
type of converter used, which signiﬁcantly aﬀects the pho tovoltaic system’s performance. MPPT is used in PV power systems to force the PV mod ule operating at MPP. In this way the PV module produces the maximum power output. For this operating point, it overcomes the disadvantages of high initial installation costs and low energy conversion eﬃciency. Previouslyused meth ods of achieving MPPT include: (1) incremental conduc tance (IncCond); (2) perturbation and observation (P&O); (3) neural network and (4) curveﬁtting (Hua et al., 2003). At present there are numerous works aimed at designing MPPT systems (Bahgat et al., 2004; Enslin et al., 1997; Gar cı´a and Alonso, 2000; Hua et al., 2003; Kitano et al., 2003; Masoum et al., 2002; Neto et al., 2000; Schilla et al., 2000; Veerachary et al., 2002, 2003; Yu et al., 2004), where the eﬃ ciency of each of them is shown and comparatives of the dif ferent methods of MPP tracking are established under diﬀerent operating conditions. However, the choice of the appropriate DC/DC converter for the implementation of both the MPPT system and its integration in the facility array has not been explicitly studied, despite its aﬀecting sig niﬁcantly the optimum operation of the photovoltaic system. The aim of this work is to make a comparative of the photovoltaic system performance using the three basic topologies of DC/DC converters and MPPT tracker, so that it may be possible to make a decision on the best con ﬁguration to be used. This work is divided into the follow ing sections: Sections 2 and 3 present some characteristics and properties of photovoltaic modules and DC/DC con verters, especially as regards the input impedance that they present under certain operating conditions. The analysis and results for each conﬁguration are shown in Sections 4 and 5. Finally, some conclusions are drawn in Section 6.
2. Theoretical models of solar arrays
A simpliﬁed exponential expression (Gow and Manning, 1999) describes the relationship between voltage (V) and current given by a module, Eq. (1).
The n _{P} and n _{S} parameters indicate the number of cells connected in parallel and in series, respectively; R _{P} and R _{S} , are the intrinsic parallel and series resistances associated to the panel; K is the Boltzman constant (1.38 · 10 ^{} ^{2}^{3} J/K) and q is the charge on an electron. Factor A determines the deviation of the characteristics of an ideal p–n junction, and I _{S} is the reverse saturation current, which presents a dependence on the panel temperature. I _{L} represents the current (photocurrent) generated by solar radiation (G). Such a current shows a linear relation with regard to radi ation and temperature. Eq. (1) (considering the dependence of its parameters on T and G) provides the socalled I–V curves of a photovol taic panel, and the multiplication result of both magnitudes provides the supplied power: Eqs. (2) and (3). This curve changes depending on the incident irradiance and the cell temperature. Each curve presents a maximum power point (MPP, point of coordinate V _{P} ), which provides the optimal operation point for an eﬃcient use of the panel (Hohm and Ropp, 2002; Hua and Shen, 1998). The MPP is calculated solving Eq. (3) with the condition (4). This calculation is tedious and slow, since these expres sions do not have an analytical solution, and therefore, they have to be solved by numerical methods (i.e., New ton’s method). Other two important points of this curve are the opencircuit voltage (V _{o}_{c} ) and the shortcircuit cur rent (I _{s}_{c} ). The voltage in an open circuit represents the maximum voltage given by the panel to a zero current (without load), while the short circuit current represents
J.M. Enrique et al. / Solar Energy 81 (2007) 31–38
33
the maximum removable current of the panel (shortcircuit load). There are other models of photovoltaic generators (PVG) apart from the one mentioned above. Akbaba and Alataawi (1995) proposed a simple model which is named the Akbaba model (Akbaba et al., 1998). Its accuracy, ﬂex ibility and simplicity are demonstrated by comparing this model with the traditional diode junction model for a PVG whose parameters are given in Appelbaum (1986). But the existing version of the Akbaba model is not com plete, since the values of its model parameters are solar radi ationdependent and they need to be evaluated at each solar radiation level. This adds additional computational burden and hence full advantage of the model cannot be utilized. In this work, we use the model described in Eq. (1) in order to implement the theoretic model used in the simulation.
3. DC/DC converters as variable resistance emulators
DC/DC converters are used in applications where an average output voltage is required, which can be higher or lower than the input voltage. This is achieved by governing the times in which the converter’s main switch conducts or does not conduct (PWM technique) usually to a constant fre quency. The ratio of the time interval in which the switch is on (T _{O}_{N} ) to the commutation period (T _{C} ) is called duty cycle (d) of the converter. Both in the continuous conduction operational mode (CCM) ^{2} and the discontinuous conduc tion mode (DCM), ^{3} the three basic converter topologies can be compared to a continuous current transformer, where the transformation ratio can be electronically con trolled varying the converter’s duty cycle d in the range [0, 1]. Fig. 1 shows the diagram of a solar panel connected to a DC/DC converter, where the resistance shown at the con verter’s input is represented by R _{i} (R _{L} is the converter’s load resistance). In relation to the photovoltaic module, the converter is its R _{i} value load resistance. Assuming con verters without losses, the ratio of input resistance to load resistance is shown in Table 1, both for CCM and DCM (Tse et al., 2002). The converter’s operational mode is deﬁned by the con stant K given in (5), where L _{e}_{q}_{v} is the inductance equivalent to the converter, R _{L} its load resistance and T _{C} the commu tation period (reverse to the operating frequency).
K ¼
2L eqv
R L T C
ð5Þ
^{2} CCM (Continuous Conduction Mode): DC/DC converter operational mode, where the current intensity that circulates through the inductance of that converter is not cancelled out at any interval of the T _{C} commutation period. ^{3} DCM (DCM, Discontinuous Conduction Mode): DC/DC converter operational mode, where the current intensity that circulates through the inductance of that converter is cancelled out during an interval of the T _{C} commutation period.
Fig. 1. Panel–converter connection.
Table 1 R _{i} values for converters in Fig. 4
Converter
K _{c}_{r}_{i}_{t}
R _{i} (CCM)
R _{i} (DCM)
Buck
1 d
Boost
dÆ(1 d) ^{2}
Buck–boost
With K ¼ ^{2}^{L} ^{e}^{q}^{v} _{C}
R _{L} T
(1 d) ^{2}
^{R}
^{L}
d
^{2}
R _{L} Æ (1 d) ^{2}
^{R} ^{L} ^{} ^{ð}^{1} ^{} ^{d}^{Þ} ^{2}
d
^{2}
^{R} L
4
1 þ
q ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ 2
1 þ 4K =d ^{2}
^{4} ^{} ^{R} ^{L}
p ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ
ð1þ 1þ4d ^{2} =K Þ ^{2}
K R _{L}
d
^{2}
DCM happens for K 6 K _{c}_{r}_{i}_{t}
If K value is lower than or equal to another one called K _{c}_{r}_{i}_{t} , the converter will operate in DCM. Conversely, if K exceeds the value of K _{c}_{r}_{i}_{t} , the converter will operate in CCM. As observed in Table 1, the value of K _{c}_{r}_{i}_{t} is diﬀerent for each type of converter. Fig. 2 shows the three basic converters which provide the diﬀerent conversion ratios given in Table 1, together with a graphic representation of the input resistance reﬂected according to the duty cycle d for CCM (Andujar et al., 2004; Enrique et al., 2005).
4. Theoretic analysis
Fig. 3 shows the I–V curve for a given module connected to a converter. Let us take any curve point, for example A. The photovoltaic module will operate in A provided that the output voltage and current match the voltage and current of point A (V _{A} , I _{A} ). Thus, we will call the quotient V _{A} /I _{A} impedance of the operating point A (R _{i}_{A} ). Assume that B is the maximum power point, therefore R _{i}_{B} = R _{M}_{P}_{P} = V _{M}_{P}_{P} /I _{M}_{P} . The system will then operate at the maximum power point (MPP) provided that R _{i} = R _{i}_{B} = R _{M}_{P}_{P} . In general terms, a maximum power point tracking system tries to vary impedance at the photovoltaic module output (R _{i} ) in order to take it to the R _{M}_{P}_{P} value. As has been mentioned above, the I–V curve of a photovo ltaic module varies according to the incidental temperature and radiation, so V _{M}_{P}_{P} , I _{M}_{P}_{P} and R _{M}_{P}_{P} will vary depend ing on how these variables do.
4.1. Analysis of the modulebuck converterload conﬁguration
The following expressions are deduced from Table 1 for the buck converter:
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J.M. Enrique et al. / Solar Energy 81 (2007) 31–38
Fig. 2. DC/DC converters commonly used and their input resistance. (a) Buck Converter; (b) boost converter; (c) buck–boost converter; (d) input resistance versus d in CCM; (e) input resistance versus d in CCM and (f) input resistance versus d in CCM.
Fig. 3. Location of the operation point of a photovoltaic module.
lim
d!0
R iCCM ¼ lim
d!0
R L
d ^{2}
¼1
lim
d!1
R iCCM ¼ lim
d!1
R
L
d ^{2}
¼ R _{L}
lim
d!0
R iDCM ¼ lim
d!0
R L
4 1 þ
r ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ ! 2
1 þ
4K
d
^{2}
¼1
ð6Þ
ð7Þ
ð8Þ
R iDCM ¼
R L
4
1 þ
r ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ ! 2
1
4K
þ
d
^{2}
P R _{L}
lim
d!1
R iDCM ¼ lim
d!1
R L
4 1 þ
r ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ ! 2
1
4K
þ
d
^{2}
ð9Þ
ð10Þ
In DCM K 6 K _{c}_{r}_{i}_{t} ¼ ð1 dÞ, then:
lim
d!1
R iDCM 6 lim
d!1
0
R L
4 1 þ
@
s ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ
_{1}
_{þ} 4ð1 dÞ
d
^{2}
2
¼ R _{L}
From (9) and (11) we have:
lim R _{i}_{}_{D}_{C}_{M} ¼
d!1
R _{L}
ð11Þ
ð12Þ
Being the expressions of R _{i} continuous in d, for a scan
ning of the converter’s duty cycle d 2 [0,1], R _{i} takes values that belong to the interval [R _{L} ,1), being R _{L} the load resis
tance. If R _{M}_{P}_{P} does not belong to the set of values allowed for R _{i} , the capture of MPP will not be possible, thus
J.M. Enrique et al. / Solar Energy 81 (2007) 31–38
35
_{F}_{i}_{g}_{.} _{4}_{.} _{C}_{h}_{a}_{r}_{t} _{o}_{f} _{M}_{P}_{P} _{t}_{r}_{a}_{c}_{k}_{i}_{n}_{g} _{w}_{i}_{t}_{h} _{b}_{u}_{c}_{k} _{D}_{C}_{/}_{D}_{C} _{c}_{o}_{n}_{v}_{e}_{r}_{t}_{e}_{r}_{.}
Fig. 5. Chart of MPP tracking with boost DC/DC converter.
deﬁning a ‘‘noncapture zone’’ for R _{L} > R _{M}_{P}_{P} values. Fig. 4 shows the eﬀect graphically. The impedance at the input of a buck converter is always a version scaled by a factor greater than or equal to 1 (see Table 1) of the imped 
there is an inversion of zones with respect to the buck con verter. Fig. 5 shows this eﬀect. The impedance at the input of a boost converter is always a lessened version in a factor lower than or equal to 1 (see Table 1) of the impedance connected to its output (R _{L} in our case). Therefore, the MPP capture will only be possible for R _{L} P R _{M}_{P}_{P} values. 

ance connected to its output (in our case R _{L} ). Therefore, the MPP capture will only be possible for R _{L} 6 R _{M}_{P}_{P} values. 4.2. Analysis of the moduleboost converterload conﬁguration The following expressions are deduced from Table 1 for the boost converter: 
4.3. Analysis of the modulebuck/boost converterload conﬁguration The following expressions are deduced from Table 1 for the buck–boost converter: lim R iCCM ¼ lim R _{L} ð1 dÞ ^{2} 

lim R iCCM ¼ lim 
R 
_{L} 
ð1 dÞ ^{2} ¼ R _{L} 
ð13Þ 
d!0 
d!0 
d 
^{2} 
¼1 
ð18Þ 

d!0 d!0 
R _{L} ð1 dÞ ^{2} ¼ 0 
lim 
R iCCM ¼ lim d!1 
R _{L} ð1 dÞ ^{2} 
¼ 0 
ð19Þ 

lim d!1 R iCCM ¼ lim d!1 
ð14Þ 
d!1 
d 
^{2} 

4 R _{L} 
ð15Þ 
lim 
R iDCM ¼ lim 
K R _{L} 
¼1 
ð20Þ 

lim d!0 R iDCM ¼ lim d!0 
1 
þ 
q ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ 1 þ ^{4}^{d} ^{2} K _{} _{2} ¼ R _{L} 
d!0 lim 
d!0 R iDCM ¼ lim 
d ^{2} K R _{L} 
ð21Þ 

d!1 
d!1 
d 
^{2} 

lim 
4 R _{L} 
ð16Þ 
In DCM K 6 K _{c}_{r}_{i}_{t} , therefore K 6 (1 d) ^{2} . Taking this 

d!1 R iDCM ¼ lim d!1 1 þ q ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ 1 þ ^{4}^{d} ^{2} K _{} _{2} 
condition in Eq. (21) into account, it is deduced that: lim R iDCM 6 lim K crit R L ¼ lim ð1 dÞ ^{2} R _{L} ¼ 0 

In DCM K 6 K _{c}_{r}_{i}_{t} , therefore K 6 dÆ(1 d) ^{2} . Taking this 4 R _{L} 
d!1 
d!1 
d 
^{2} 
d!1 
d 
^{2} 
ð22Þ 

condition in Eq. (16) into account, it is deduced that: 
Given that R _{i}_{}_{D}_{C}_{M} cannot be negative, it is clear that the 

lim d!1 R iDCM 6 lim d!1 

1 
þ 
q ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ 1 þ 4d ^{2} ^{K} crit 4 R _{L} 2 
limit, when d ! 1, matches R _{i}_{}_{D}_{C}_{M} = 0. For this conﬁgura tion, in accordance with the results from (18)–(22), and knowing that R _{i} is a continuous function in d, a scanning 

¼ lim 
ð17Þ 
of the duty cycle, d 2 [0, 1], allows all values of R _{i} , i.e., R _{i} 

d!1
1 þ q ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ 1 þ 4d ^{2} d ð1 dÞ ^{2} _{} _{2} ¼ 0 Given that R _{i}_{}_{D}_{C}_{M} cannot be negative, it is clear that, when d ! 1, the limit matches R _{i}_{}_{D}_{C}_{M} = 0. Being the expressions of R _{i} continuous in d, both for CCM and DCM, it is deduced that R _{i} can only be at the interval [0, R _{L} ]. The maximum power point tracking system will modify the value of R _{i} , trying to get R _{i} = R _{M}_{P}_{P} . However, this will not be possible if R _{M}_{P}_{P} does not belong to the set 
can take any value between 0 and 1. Consequently, the imposed restrictions for the two previous converter topolo gies do not aﬀect the buck–boost converter, and therefore there is not ‘‘non capture zone’’. Fig. 6 shows this eﬀect. This allows the photovoltaic solar facility to achieve the MPP regardless of the value of R _{L} , thus obtaining a higher power point tracking eﬃciency. 5. Examples 

of values allowed for R _{i} , that is, the system will not reach the MPP if R _{L} <R _{M}_{P}_{P} . The behaviour is clearly opposite to that mentioned in the previous section, and therefore 
To support the theoretic results analysed in the previous section, we have simulated four photovoltaic systems 
36
J.M. Enrique et al. / Solar Energy 81 (2007) 31–38
Fig. 6. Chart of MPP tracking with buck–boost DC/DC converter. Note that this converter allows MPP tracking in both directions.
(using MATLAB). Three systems use a DC/DC converter (each one of a diﬀerent type) with MPP tracking system, and a fourth one uses a direct connection photovoltaic moduleload. Experimental values of cell temperature and global irradiation corresponding to a clear day have been used as input metereological data. The aim is to evaluate the MPPtracking eﬃciency of each of the systems, calculated according to expression
(23):
R g ¼ R
0
t
P _{i}_{n}_{s}_{t} ðt Þ dt
P _{M}_{P}_{P} ðt Þ
dt
0
t
ð23Þ
where P _{i}_{n}_{s}_{t} is the instantaneous power in the operating point of the system and P _{M}_{P}_{P} is the available power at the photovoltaic module maximum power point under a gi ven cell temperature and irradiance (Hohm and Ropp, 2002). Given that according to (23) MPPtracking eﬃ ciency is the quotient between the areas under each curve, the closer the real curve to the P _{M}_{P}_{P} (t) trajectory, the better eﬃciency. The meteorological data used for the study have been measured in the laboratory of photovoltaic systems of the University of Ma´ laga (Spain).The measure of the cell temperature was carried out by means of a PT100 coupled to the later face of the module. The incident global irradi ation has been measured by means of a reference solar cell installed in the same plane that the photovoltaic module. Both signals were taken from the weather station with one minute intervals from the data acquisition system, Hydra (Fluke). The measured values for the day 3rd of October of 2002 are shown in Fig. 7. The ‘SX60’ (BP) model was selected as photovoltaic generator for the simu lation. Table 2 shows its parameters. Fig. 8 shows the calculated trajectories of V _{M}_{P}_{P} , and I _{M}_{P}_{P} , for the cited day for the SX60 module. It can be observed that the I _{M}_{P}_{P} is directly proportional to the inci dent irradiance while the V _{M}_{P}_{P} varies depending on the cell temperature. The variation of the impedance in the maxi mum power point, R _{M}_{P}_{P} , throughout the day is shown in Fig. 9. In this case, we obtained a daily average R _{M}_{P}_{P} value of 9 X. To guarantee the achievement of information on the system’s behaviour when it operates with resistive loads
Fig. 7. Temperature and irradiation values for a clear day in Ma´ laga (Spain).
Table 2 Photovoltaic module ‘SX60’ parameters
A = 1.2 E _{g} = 1.12 eV n _{p} = 1 n _{s} = 36 P _{m}_{a}_{x} = 60 W 
Ideality factor of PN junction Band gap energy Number of parallelconnected modules Number of seriesconnected cells Maximum power at standard conditions ^{a} 

V _{m}_{a}_{x} = 16.8 V Voltage at the maximum power point 

I _{m}_{a}_{x} = 3.56 A NOTC = 47 C I _{s}_{c} = 3.87 A 
Current at the maximum power point Nominal Operating Cell Temperature Shortcircuit current at standard conditions 

V _{o}_{c} = 21.06 V 
Open circuit 
voltage at standard conditions 
k _{v} = 80 mV/ C k _{i} = 0.065%/ C 
V _{o}_{c} temperature coeﬃcient I _{s}_{c} temperature coeﬃcient 
^{a} Standard conditions: 25 C and 1000 W/m ^{2} .
diﬀerent from R _{M}_{P}_{P} , in our analysis we have diﬀerentiated between loads higher and lower than average R _{M}_{P}_{P} (specif
ically, 5 X and 20 X).
Due to its simple and easy implementation, the maxi mum power point tracking in this work was made on the basis of the wellknown method ‘‘Perturbation and Obser
Fig. 8. Maximum power point voltage V _{M}_{P}_{P} (t) and current I _{M}_{P}_{P} (t) trajectories for the ‘SX60’ (BP) module for a clear day in Ma´ laga (Spain).
J.M. Enrique et al. / Solar Energy 81 (2007) 31–38
37
Fig. 9. Maximum power point impedance trajectory R _{M}_{P}_{P}_{(}_{t}_{)} for the ‘SX60’ (BP) module for a clear day in Ma´ laga (Spain).
Fig. 11. Maximum power point power trajectory P _{M}_{P}_{P}_{(}_{t}_{)} and power supplied P(t) to the 5 X and 20 X loads, with buck converter between the photovoltaic module and the load.
Fig. 10. Maximum power point power trajectory P _{M}_{P}_{P}_{(}_{t}_{)} and power supplied P(t) to the 5 X and 20 X loads, without DC/DC converter between the photovoltaic module and the load.
Fig. 12. Maximum power point power trajectory P _{M}_{P}_{P}_{(}_{t}_{)} and power supplied P(t) to the 5 X and 20 X loads, with boost converter between the photovoltaic module and the load.
vation P&O’’ (Hohm and Ropp, 2002; Hua and Shen, 1998; Hussein et al., 1995). Fig. 10 shows the trajectories of the power supplied by the load and the MPP power for the two diﬀerent values of R _{L} . It is observed that when the panel is directly connected to the resistive load, without inserting any DC/DC converter, the system will only operate at the maximum power point when R _{M}_{P}_{P} and R _{L} match (see Fig. 9). If a buck converter is inserted between the panel and the load (Fig. 11), we can observe that the system is only able to follow the maximum power point for not very high irradiation values (depending on R _{L} ), i.e., when the maximum power point impedance R _{M}_{P}_{P} is relatively high. At maximum solar irradiation hours, R _{M}_{P}_{P} reaches its minimum values, and so the system is unable to achieve the MPP. This is even more evident that the higher R _{L} is in relation to R _{M}_{P}_{P} . When it is used a boost converter, (Fig. 12), the system is able to reach the maximum power point only at maximum irradiation hours (low R _{M}_{P}_{P} ), with a remarkable loss of MPPtracking eﬃciency at the initial and ﬁnal hours of the day.
Finally, when a buck–boost converter is used the P _{M}_{P}_{P} (t) and P(t) trajectories are graphically equal, with values of 0.999 for the MPPtracking eﬃciency. R _{i} can take any value with this converter. This allows the photovoltaic solar system to reach the MPP regardless of the existing irradiation level and R _{L} , achieving a higher MPPtracking eﬃciency. Note that the MPP can be tracked for any R _{L} value, regardless of its relationship with R _{M}_{P}_{P} . In Table 3, a comparative of the MPPtracking eﬃ ciency provided by each of the conﬁgurations for the con cerned day of study is given. Observe that in all cases, the
Table 3 MPPtracking eﬃciency obtained for each DC–DC converter conﬁgura tion and load
Load 
Without 
Buck 
Boost 
Buck–boost 
converter 
converter 
converter 
converter 

(%) 
(%) 
(%) 
(%) 

R _{L} = 5 X 
88.5 
97.2 
91.2 
99.9 
R _{L} = 20 X 
40.2 
40.3 
99.7 
99.9 
38
J.M. Enrique et al. / Solar Energy 81 (2007) 31–38
conﬁguration with buck–boost converter is the one that presents the highest eﬃciency.
6. Conclusions
In this work we aimed at revealing the importance of the correct choice of the DC/DC converter in a photovoltaic facility in order to obtain its highest MPPtracking eﬃ ciency. In this article we demonstrate that only the buck– boost DC/DC converter is able to manage the facility to follow the photovoltaic panel maximum power point at all times, regardless of cell temperature, solar global irradi ation and connected load. It is important to remark that the result obtained in the analysis is independent from the MPP tracking system, i.e., however eﬃcient this system may be, the DC/DC converter conﬁguration imposes restrictions on it that it cannot sidestep. ‘‘Despite the fact that the study carried out in this work is theoretical, it is important to note that from a practical approach, the buck and boost converters are the most eﬃ cient topologies for a given price. While voltage ﬂexibility varies, buck–boost and Cuk (Cuk is a type of structure derived from the buck–boost topologies) converters are always at eﬃciency or, alternatively, price disadvantage. Nevertheless, there are already conﬁgurations of buck– boost and Cuk converters where both the MOSFET and the inductor are of a very low resistance, achieving eﬃcien cies as regards input power higher than 95% and hardly 2 or 3% lower than the buck and boost topologies.’’ According to the performed analysis, we dare to suggest that a good practice could be including a buck–boost DC/ DC converter in photovoltaic solar facilities at the PV array output and then connecting, after the converter, the rest of the facility elements (load). This practice guarantees the photovoltaic panel maximum power point tracking for any solar irradiation, cell temperature and load conditions, which could undoubtedly redound to the facility’s higher system eﬃciency.
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