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  • Solar Power Converter from Microchip

  • Created: Sep 03, 2014

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Summary


The photovoltaic cell converts solar energy into an electric current, which is an alternative source of renewable energy. Photovoltaic cells or solar cells are developed into solar panels. The characteristics of the solar panel are essentially the same as those of the solar cells, only scaled up in voltage or current based on the number of solar cells used and the arrangement of the array. Solar panels come in a variety of shapes, sizes and efficiencies, but all have similar characteristics. A solar panel will generate its maximum voltage when the panel is in full sunlight with no load. This voltage is commonly referred to as the open circuit voltage (VOC) of the panel. As the load of the solar panel increases, the output voltage of the solar panel will decrease in nonlinear fashion until the maximum output current, the short circuit current (JSC) of the panel, is reached.


As the need for remote operation of electronic devices continues to increase, power for these devices becomes more of a concern. Mostly batteries that are either recharged or changed on a regular basis power remote applications. The more remote the location is, the bigger the challenge becomes of replacing these batteries. Since the development of the modern photovoltaic cell in 1954, remotely powered applications that do not have to be serviced became possible. The focus of this application note is to identify how to get the maximum power out of a solar panel to power a remote application. The maximum power point converter is essentially a DC-to-DC converter, where the DC input voltage is a solar panel and the output voltage is 28 volts. The intent of the converter is to show how to take the solar panel and generate a voltage capable of recharging a 24-volt battery.


The TC4432 is a 30V CMOS non-inverting buffer/drivers suitable for use in high-side driver applications. The PIC16F690 is a low pin-count (20) PIC Flash microcontroller products offer all of the advantages of the well recognized mid-range x14 architecture with standardized features including a wide operating voltage of 2.0-5.5 volts, on-board EEPROM Data Memory, and nanoWatt Technology.

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