Jonathan Bruneau designed a $1/W maximum power point tracker used to extract maximum power from solar panels and published his project on hackaday.io:
Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) is a technique whereupon special electronics attempts to extract the optimal amount of energy from a solar panel. This optimal point fluctuates in function of a variety of factors including: temperature, quantity of incoming light, solar panel age, etc.
Current MPPT controllers tend to be expensive. They range from tens of dollars for 3W supplies to hundreds of dollars for 100W and above. Lower costs can be achieved but typically trade-off functionality essential for proper MPPT operation. This makes MPPTs poor candidates for cost sensitive applications
If the cost could be reduced to a more attractive price point, MPPT controllers could become synonymous with solar panels, opening doors for new renewable applications.
Build a $1 per Watt parallelizable MPPT controller – [Link]