Solar energy is rapidly gaining notoriety as an important means of expanding renewable energy resources. As such, it is vital that those in engineering fields understand the technologies associated with this area. Our project will include the design and construction of a microcontroller-based solar panel tracking system. Solar tracking allows more energy to be produced because the solar array is able to remain aligned to the sun. This system builds upon topics learned in this course. A working system will ultimately be demonstrated to validate the design. Problems and possible improvements will also be presented.
Final Setup of Arduino Based Solar Tracker
AIM OF THE PROJECT
The aim of this solar tracker project is to keep the solar photovoltaic panel perpendicular to the sun throughout the year in order to make it more efficient. The dual axis solar photovoltaic panel takes astronomical data as reference and the tracking system has the capability to always point the solar array toward the sun and can be installed in various regions with minor modifications. The vertical and horizontal motion of the panel is obtained by taking altitude angle and azimuth angle as reference. The fuzzy controller has been used to control the position of DC motors. The mathematical simulation control of dual axis solar tracking system ensures the point to point motion of the DC motors while tracking the sun.
Solar Tracker is a Device which follows themovement of the sun as it rotates from the east to the west every day. The main function of all tracking systems is to provide one or two degrees of freedom in movement. Trackers are used to keep solar collectors/solar panels oriented directlytowards the sun as it moves through the sky every day. Using solar trackers increases the amount of solar energy which is received by the solar energy collector and improves the energy output of the heat/electricity which is generated. Solar trackers can increase the output of solar panels by 20-30% which improves the economics of the solar panel project.
NEED FOR SOLAR TRACKER
The energy contributed by the direct beam drops off with the cosine of the angle between the incoming light and the panel. The table no. 2.1 shows the
Direct power lost (%) due to misalignment (angle i).
Table: Direct power lost (%) due to misalignment (angle i)
Misalignment (angle i )
Direct power lost (%)=1-cos(i)
The sun travels through 360 degrees east-west a day, but from the perspective of any fixed location the visible portion is 180 degrees during a 1/2 day period. Local horizon effects reduce this somewhat, making the effective motion about 150 degrees. A solar panel in a fixed orientation between the dawn and sunset extremes will see a motion of 75 degrees on either side, and thus, according to the table above, will lose 75% of the energy in the morning and evening. Rotating the panels to the east and west can help recapture these losses. A tracker rotating in the east-west direction is known as a single-axis tracker.
The sun also moves through 46 degrees north-south over the period of a year. The same set of panels set at the midpoint between the two local extremes will thus see the sun move 23 degrees on either side, causing losses of 8.3% A tracker that accounts for both the daily and seasonal motions is known as a dual-axis tracker.