A well engineered renewable remote energy system, utilizing the principal of Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) can improve cost effectiveness, has a higher reliability and can improve the quality of life in remote areas. A high-efficient power electronic converter, for converting the output voltage of a solar panel, or wind generator, to the required DC battery bus voltage has been realized. The converter is controlled to track the maximum power point of the input source under varying input and output parameters. Maximum power point tracking for relative small systems is achieved by maximization of the output current in a battery charging regulator, using an optimized hill-climbing, inexpensive microprocessor based algorithm. Through practical field measurements it is shown that a minimum input source saving of between 15 and 25% on 3-5 kWh/day systems can easily be achieved. A total cost saving of at least 10-15% on the capital cost of these systems are achievable for relative small rating Remote Area Power Supply (RAPS) systems. The advantages at large temperature variations and high power rated systems are much higher. Other advantages include optimal sizing and system monitor and control. (author).
Enslin, J H.R. 
- Stellenbosch Univ. (South Africa). Dept. of Electrical and Electronic Engineering