“The Power Point” Metaphor Pt. 1

Our company name “The Power Point” refers to an electrical equation known as the maximum power point (MPP) in relationship to photovoltaic physics. The equation for MMP, and the basis of the theory, correlates metphorically to the theories found generally in systems science, living systems, and human catalytic action in terms of creativity and project initiation as well as concepts of thermodynamics, information theory, cybernetics, and systems engineering, and the classical concepts appropriate to each level.¬†

The equation for the maximum power point (MPP) is represented by the equation P = IV, where P is the power, I is the current, and V is the voltage. The goal of automated systems which move a photovoltaic panel or array is to ensure the optimum reflective angle in relation to the suns movement over the course of the solar year, which is specific to the array’s latitude and longitude. The MPP equation is used in the case of Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) as an algorythmic¬† technique, adjusting the fedback electrical conditions (such as the resistance of the load) to keep the cell operating at its MPP, and adjusting the angle mechanically as solar conditions change through out the day.

Read more, “An Evolutionary-Based MPPT Algorithm for Photovoltaic Systems under Dynamic Partial Shading”

Drawing from general systems theory, we can describe both photovoltaic cells and human performance as systems operating towards achieving maximum efficiency. A system, whether it be a solar cell or a human being, is a structured set of components that are interconnected, influence each other, and work together towards achieving certain goals.

For photovoltaic cells, the goal is converting sunlight into electrical power at the highest possible efficiency. This efficiency depends on the solar cell’s characteristics, which are determined by the materials used in its construction. For example, doping elements like phosphorus or boron can be added to a polysilicon solar cell to enhance its performance. More recent advancements have introduced flexible PV substrates that use exotic materials such as organic polymers or perovskites, which can be optimized for specific operating conditions. These changes can be viewed as modifications to the system’s input or parameters to achieve an optimal steady state – the Maximum Power Point.

In the context of human performance, the system’s goal is achieving peak productivity. This efficiency is influenced by a variety of factors including skills, interests, project requirements, and notably, nutrition. Just as the solar cell system uses different materials to optimize its performance, the human system uses different nutrients to optimize its functions. The nutrients we consume can be seen as inputs into our biological system, influencing both physical and mental performance. Just as the composition of a solar cell needs to be adjusted based on environmental conditions, a person’s diet may need to be tailored to their specific needs and conditions.

A living systems approach recognizes that both solar cells and humans are parts of larger, interconnected systems. For instance, solar cells form part of our broader energy infrastructure, while human performance affects and is affected by social, economic, and ecological systems. Understanding these connections and feedbacks is crucial for optimizing system performance, whether we are trying to maximize the efficiency of solar power or boost human productivity.

So, in applying the principles of systems theory, we can view photovoltaic cells and human performance through the same lens. Both are systems with inputs, outputs, and a range of factors affecting their performance. Adjusting these factors allows the system to reach its Maximum Power Point, or optimal steady state, achieving maximum output under given conditions. By discerning these patterns, we can clarify and unify our understanding of these complex systems and optimize their performance.

For example, if a person is more productive in the morning (their “light intensity”), then their work schedule could be adjusted to align with their natural rhythm. If a person has more skills in a certain area (their “temperature”), projects can be delegated according to their areas of expertise. In this way, by tuning the ‘conditions’ to a person’s unique ‘operating characteristics’, one can optimise their creative output, just like an MPPT does for a solar cell.

This is, of course, a metaphorical comparison. The complexity of human psychology, creativity, and project management cannot be fully captured in a physical equation. But the underlying principle of finding and maintaining optimal conditions for maximum output remains applicable across both domains