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What is MPPT

MPPT or Maximum Power Point Tracking is an algorithm used by better charge controllers to extract maximum available power from PV modules. The power produced by PV modules varies widely during the day.  Major factors that affect power output include amount of direct light and cell temperature.  Both Amperage and Voltage are affected. 

So what is Maximum Power Point? The voltage at which PV module produces maximum power is called ‘maximum power point’ (or peak power voltage).  But it's not all about voltage!  On a typical day in the morning as the sun rises the solar panels start producing voltage and it climbs as the sun does, sometimes right up to Voc (voltage open circuit) before starting to produce the other half of power (amps) .  It is at this point that all solar charge controller starts charging.

The purpose of MPPT is to extract the maximum available power from PV modules by adjusting conversion to provide maximum operational efficiency.  Voltage bounces up and down all day as haze, clouds, sun angle, shade and cell temperature affects PV output.  MPPT technology continuously checks PV output and compares it to battery state and voltage and adjusts for the best power conversion to charge the battery by converting to the optimum voltage to put maximum current into battery. It does this by internally converting the PV's DC power input to AC power then converting the AC into the optimum battery charge voltage required by the battery bank at this point in time.

Now that we're talking about battery charging, all of the MPPT charge controllers we sell have three basic levels of charge (bulk, absorb and float) plus some have the ability to equalize the battery bank when required.

An additional benefit of the MPPT technology is the ability of many modern charge controllers to accept much higher voltages than a single solar panel puts out.  This allows higher voltage transmission from the solar panels to the charge controller minimizing power loss as higher voltage reduces power loss by lowering amperage by wire resistance.  This is especially useful as solar panels are sometimes a considerable distance from where the charge controller and batteries are located.

MPPT technology is also used in Grid Tie and Net-Metering applications but in this case the incoming PV power can be as high as 600V and output is direct to the electrical grid.

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Last modified: January 12, 2023