Microchip Technology

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  • Maximum Power Solar Converter

  • Created: May 15, 2016

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The studies on how renewable energy are being garnered to substitute for batteries plays a big role in the advancement of technology. Solar energy is the primary renewable energy that is being developed because of its abundance and less maintenance bases. The reference design is a maximum power solar converter that uses the PIC16F690, a 20-Pin Flash-Based 8-Bit CMOS microcontrollers with nanoWatt technology. The design also uses TC4432COA a 30V CMOS buffer/drivers suitable for use in high-side driver applications. The MAX4376 is a quad precision high-side current-sense amplifier that is being used by the reference design to sense output current.

The reference design uses the MAX4376 and a voltage divider configuration to monitor both the current and voltage of the solar panel. It has a max power algorithm that is programmed to PIC16F690, which controls the output power of the solar panel to change accordingly to the need of the load. The PIC16F690 changes the output power by manipulating the panel’s output current. The changes of the solar panels output depend on how much current is needed by the load. It is important to determine and achieved the maximum power point for the solar panel to be more efficient and to avoid the maximum output current with no load. The reference design is partnered with a boost converter to ensure that the voltage will not fall down nonlinearly and to ensure output voltage is sufficient for the load.

The reference design is focused on how to produce a voltage that is capable of recharging a 24V battery. To get the maximum output of the panels, it is important to operate at maximum power point of the panels when at full load or at no load condition.