The development of renewable energies is essential to meet the energy demand which is growing year after year. Africa has a strong solar potential which is, however, little exploited. The development of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy will be more favored with the democratization of performance monitoring and characterization tools for PV systems. Monitoring systems are very important because they allow the monitoring of the operation and control of PV installations in order to reduce maintenance costs and avoid undesirable power supply interruptions. There are several monitoring systems, more or less efficient, proposed on the market but they are often too expensive and not adapted to all existing systems. This paper presents a low-cost electronic board for monitoring and characterizing photovoltaic systems. The designed board is based on the ATMega328 microcontroller of the open-source development platform Arduino. It is composed of four blocks that allow the acquisition of electrical and environmental parameters. The board has been tested in monitoring mode with the follow-up of a small PV solar installation. The results of these experiments are consistent with what is found in the literature. Its use in characterization mode has allowed to obtain, in real time, the current-voltage and power-voltage characteristics. Compared to the results of the IV-500W tracer, the characterization results are consistent with an RMSE of 0.81 in voltage and 0.15 in current on all points measured. The design work is completed with the PCB design on Altium designer which resulted in the Gerber file.
Key words: Microcontroller, photovoltaic (PV) monitoring, PV characterization, PCB.
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