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Peak Power Tracking Buck Solar Charger Maximizes Efficiency

Solar panels are gaining acceptance as a practical means of electricity generation in remote locations, but despite improvements in the technology, solar panels remain expensive. Much of the expense is the panel itself, where the size, and thus cost, of the panel rises with required power output. Maximizing panel performance is important in order to realize the smallest, most cost effective solution. This circuit is a switch mode charger based on the unconventionally efficient LTC1625 No RSENSE synchronous buck controller. The circuit is placed between the solar panel and the battery and serves to regulate battery float voltage. The additional, LTC1541-based control loop forces the charger to operate at the point of maximum panel power. This increase in efficiency shrinks the required panel size and thus reduces the cost of the overall solution.