Solar Tracker Project using Microcontroller
A solar tracker is a generic term used to describe devices that orient various payloads toward the sun. Payloads can be photovoltaic panels, reflectors, lenses or other optical devices. In standard photovoltaic applications trackers are used to minimize the angle of incidence between the incoming light and a photovoltaic panel. This increases the amount of energy produced from a fixed amount of installed power generating capacity.
In concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) and concentrated solar thermal (CSP) applications trackers are used to enable the optical components in the CPV and CSP systems. The optics in concentrated solar applications accepts the direct component of sunlight and therefore must be oriented appropriately to collect energy. Tracking systems are found in all concentrator applications because systems do not produce energy unless oriented toward the sunlight.
Optimal solar panel performance is achieved if the sun is kept at 90 degrees to the panel. Fixed Mount structures result in an element of the sun’s energy being lost as it arcs across the southern sky. Tracking mount structures monitor the sun’s position in the sky and orientate the panels to maintain the 90 degree angle to the sun all day long. This provides more power to the pump over a longer period of the day, producing 20% to 40% more water each day. Although little expensive, a tracking system offers a great advantage when pumping water. Positive single axis trackers are known for their excellent reliability and service life. Tare highly recommended in all locations. The heavy duty actuator is operated by some very simple electronics that measure the length of the previous day by measuring the time that the panels are producing any voltage. This time span is then split into 6 equal periods and the array is moved from east to west in 15 degree intervals. At night the array is moved to the horizontal position to minimize wind loading.
Solar Tracker Working :
A solar tracker is a mechanical device that works by following the sun on its path during the day. There are two different types of mechanisms that are most commonly used – active trackers and passive trackers.
Active trackers are directed toward the sun by electrical circuitry in the form of light-sensing photo sensors. Motors and gear trains are then employed to direct the tracker as commanded by the photo sensors to the sun’s direction. Active trackers contain electrical components and hence use a small amount of power.
Passive Trackers use a hydraulic mechanism that responds to the heat of the sun. A low boiling point compressed gas fluid is driven to one side or the other by the sun’s heat, creating gas pressure and thereby moving the mechanism along. Passive trackers generally do not consume any power.
Typically, active trackers are more accurate then passive trackers, and hence favoured for uses where a pinpoint degree of accuracy is required, for instance where concentrating solar collectors are used. For solar PV applications the accuracy of passive trackers is more than sufficient.
Selection of Sun Tracker:
The selection of tracker type is dependent on many factors:
- Installation size
- Electric rates
- land constraints
- Local weather.
Important Components of Solar Tracker:
Circuit Diagram of Solar Tracker
Circuit Diagram of Solar Tracker Using Microcontroller:
Advantages of a Solar Tracker: