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Differential Evolution Based Maximum Power Point Tracker for Photovoltaic Array Under Non-Uniform Illumination Condition
Photovoltaic system (PV) is an important technological asset for renewable energy production. It works by converting solar cell energy from the sun into electrical direct current. In reality, the photovoltaic module usually receives non-uniform solar irradiance at different light intensity due to non-atmospheric hindrance. Under such conditions, the PV system exhibits multiple peaks on the energy characteristic curve, generally known as the partial shading condition (PSC). Therefore, in order to maximize the energy harvested by the photovoltaic system (PV), maximum power point tracking (MPPT) method is suggested to extract all possible maxima that have been produced by the PV system under various circumstances through the non-uniform irradiance of the sunlight. Based on previous researches, it is found that conventional method such as perturb and observed (P&O) method failed to track the maximum power and was trapped at the local maximum power (LMPP). This paper focuses on exploring a metaheuristic method which is the differential evolution (DE) algorithm in optimizing the energy harvested by the PV system. The platform chosen for modelling in this paper is a 3 × 3 PV array. The PV array is tested with different conditions of partial shading where random irradiance values are set. Comparing the performance of PV between P&O and DE based MPPT controller, the DE based MPPT controller is inferred to have a higher success rate to escape from being trapped in LMPP and thus produce more total energy.
Photovoltaic system, Maximum Power Point Tracking, Partial Shading Condition, Perturb and Observed, Differential Evolution.
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