Energy is a very important issue nowadays. In the last years a lot of researchers have dedicated their studies to looking for new energy sources. In Brazil, we have the privilege to have an amount of sunlight per year - very high all over the country. This fact motivated this research. In this work we present an experimental approach for achieving maximum power point tracking of photovoltaic panels. To do so, we assemble an experiment composed by a small photovoltaic panel which is attached to a step motor shaft and can turn, controlled by the step motor, from a 2prd angle. The idea is to use the photovoltaic panel as sensor of solar energy. The step motor turns and exposes the panel to the sunlight. The voltage produced by the panel is acquired with a data acquisition board and its maximum value is chosen as the best point and associate to the number of steps needed to reach this point. The number of steps indicates the best panel position. The experimental setup was tested and preliminary results show that the best position of the panel is always reached and the automated process is quite reliable.
Key words: Photovoltaic panel, solar energy, step motor, LabVIEW.
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