Harnessing of maximum power from solar PV with the aid of maximum power point tracking (MPPT) methods is of significant importance as it contributes to better utilization of the system. Amidst the conventional MPPT methods, hill climbing (HC) and incremental conductance methods are widely recognized but they yield maximum power only under constant irradiation and utterly fail when exposed to conditions of varying irradiation levels. Besides these, they exhibit wide power fluctuations even under steady state along with poor transient characteristics under partial shading conditions which is quite probable. Therefore, a recently developed optimization technique namely, fireworks algorithm is utilized for global MPPT. Extensive simulations are performed for constant irradiation as well as partial shading condition. The obtained results are compared with existing methods to highlight the superiority of the method used in this work. © Springer India 2016.