This study first explored the effect of shading on the output characteristics of modules in a photovoltaic module array. Next, a modified particle swarm optimization (PSO) method was employed to track the maximum power point of the multiple-peak characteristic curve of the array. Through the optimization method, the weighting value and cognition learning factor decreased with an increasing number of iterations, whereas the social learning factor increased, thereby enhancing the tracking capability of a maximum power point tracker. In addition, the weighting value was slightly modified on the basis of the changes in the slope and power of the characteristic curve to increase the tracking speed and stability of the tracker. Finally, a PIC18F8720 microcontroller was coordinated with peripheral hardware circuits to realize the proposed PSO method, which was then adopted to track the maximum power point of the power–voltage (P–V) output characteristic curve of the photovoltaic module array under shading. Subsequently, tests were conducted to verify that the modified PSO method exhibited favorable tracking speed and accuracy.
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