Research Focus: A way to improve maximum power point (MPP) tracking for PV systems

Mohammed Aslam Husain, Department of Electrical Engineering, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India

A technique profiled in the study, and implemented using simple circuits and a thermocouple to sense temperature variations, enabled rapid MPPT for the PV systems in the study. And according to the research team, when used at large scale, the power from the thermocouple could be used as additional power.

Title of Peer Reviewed and Accepted Research Paper


  • Mohammed Aslam Husain, Abu Tariq, Department of Electrical Engineering, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India
  • Zeeshan Ahmad Khan, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Technical University Munich, Germany

What are the key findings of your research (in brief)?

A PV cell forms the fundamental unit of PV systems. The PV source requires low-maintenance, has no moving parts and has a clean and direct energy conversion process.

Despite these advantages however, PV systems still experience challenges to wider adoption, namely that the energy attained from them is sporadic and can be affected by issues such as low insolation, intermittency, and partial shading amongst other things.

PV cells are neither a constant current nor a constant voltage source and the output (I-V and P-V) characteristics are non-linear in nature depending on the Insolation and Temperature. These parameters vary throughout the day and the cumulative effect is that the output of the PV source also keeps on varying. This means that the output is not optimal at all times.

To overcome this, a branch of PV research has focused on how to “coincide” the operating point with the maximum power point so that the maximum power is available from the source. This strategy of obtaining “maximum power” calls for tracking the maximum power point, and is termed as maximum power point tracking (MPPT).

Our paper puts forward a novel technique, employing the thermocouple installed beneath the PV panel, used for tracking maximum power point (MPP) in the photovoltaic system. We found that this method is a quicker and more accurate method for tracking the MPP. We observed that the temperature of the panel is higher than the atmospheric temperature, and this difference in temperature is used in the study’s maximum power point tracker (MPPT).

A key advantage of this method is that it tracks voltage (which has a direct relationship with the duty cycle of the converter) instead of tracking power. This makes the analysis simpler. Also the thermocouple employed (when used on large scale) can act as an additional power source.

Why do your findings matter?

We believe that the novel technique presented is proficient enough to perform rapid MPPT in PV systems by using the thermocouple to sense the temperature variations. When used at large scale, the power from thermocouple could also be used as additional power. The scheme is quite robust, and could be easily implemented using simple circuits.

What are the next steps that need to be taken to push this research forward even more?

By using the logic of the presented MPPT schemes further improvement of MPPT procedures can be done. Additional soft computing methods could help in achieving an even higher level of MPPT performance.

Accessing the full text version of the paper
A novel solar PV MPPT scheme utilizing the difference between panel and atmospheric temperature

About the Corresponding Author
Mohammed Aslam Husain received his B.Tech and M.tech degrees in Electrical Engineering from AMU, Aligarh, India, in 2010 and 2012, respectively. In 2012 he joined the Electrical Engineering Department, University Polytechnic, Integral University, Lucknow, India as Head of Department. In 2013 he joined the Electrical Engineering Department, AMU, Aligarh,India as Assistant Professor. His main area of research includes MPPT of PV systems, application, power electronics system integration, and renewable energy generation system.

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Energy efficiency  •  Energy infrastructure  •  Energy storage including Fuel cells  •  Green building  •  Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity