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What is an MPPT Charge Controller?

This section covers the theory and operation of "Maximum Power Point Tracking" as used in solar electric charge controllers.

An MPPT, or maximum power point tracker is an electronic DC to DC converter that optimizes the match between the solar array (PV panels), and the battery bank or utility grid. To put it simply, they convert a higher voltage DC output from solar panels (and a few wind generators) down to the lower voltage needed to charge batteries.

(These are sometimes called "power point trackers" for short - not to be confused with PANEL trackers, which are a solar panel mount that follows, or tracks, the sun).