Solar tracking system

by on 04-19-2020 in Australia

Nowadays the energy deficiency problem faced by the world, most especially the third world countries, are urging researchers to find an alternative energy that would complement the fuel conventionally used in these counties. These alternative energy sources include solar, nuclear and wind. Solar energy is the energy generated by harnessing the power of the solar radiation. It is devoid of  pollution and I'd the cleanest source of energy which can least pollute the climate.
The power from the sun intercepted by the Earth is approximately 1.8*10 MW, which is many thousands times larger than the present consumption rate of the Earth from all other in use commercial energy sources. However the problem with solar energy is it's dilute nature, which makes it insufficient for technological utilization. This problem can be rectified by a device called the solar tracking device. Which ensure maximum intensity of sun rays hitting the surface of the panel from sun rise to sunset.


The pictorial diagram below shows the assembly of the solar movement system .

Component of the solar tracking system


The main mechanism of the solar tracking system consists of:

  1. The tracking device
  2. The control unit
  3. The positioning Staten
  4. The driving mechanism
  5. The sensing device.

The astronomical algorithms is a purely mathematical algorithms based on astronomical reference. The control unit performs the tracking algorithms and manage the positioning system and the driving mechanism. The positioning system operates the tracking device to face the sun at the calculated angles. The driving mechanism is responsible for moving the tracking device to the position determined by the positioning system. The sensing device are group of sensor and measurement that measure the ambient conditions.

 

Components Description of the whole system.


The component description include;
From the above diagram the following can be seen as the integral part of the tracking system; 
 

1. Main solar panel and charge control. 


Solar panels are made of many photovoltaic (PV) cells connected in the series or parallel. The PV cell is a large area P-N diode with the junction positioned close to the top surface. When the cell is illuminated, electron - hole are generated by the interaction of the incident photon- generated electron hole pairs to separate.


Main advantages of photovoltaic power are:

  1. Short lead time to design
  2. Highly modular
  3. Static structure, no moving parts since no noise.
  4. High power capability per unit of weight.
  5. Longer life with little maintenance for to no moving part
  6. Highly mobile and portable because of lightweight.

2. Charge controller:


The function of the charge controller is to prevent the battery from overcharge and discharge. The solar panel in this control system will continue to charge the battery even when the battery had been fully charged. When the battery reaches a specific voltage the charge controller will cut off the tension to ensure there is no over charge. Also when the battery is at the specific voltage, the charge controller will start to charge the battery. This make the battery voltage not to fall below the final discharge voltage level and be severely damaged.


3. Rechargeable battery


Four small rechargeable batteries are being used, they are connected in series to give a voltage of about 16v dc

4. Stepper Motor


The first motor will rotate the panel to track the sun in the horizontal axis. Once it has established the correct direction, it will start following in the vertical axis to get the tilt angle.

5. Microcontroller


This is the main backbone of the full control system. It gives out signal to the motor to start the search after 10 minutes delay time elapse. A microcontroller is a single chip micro computer made through VLSI fabrication. It's available in different word length.

Construction of the panel moving mechanism in picture.

Result of research and discussion 


The result for the project were obtained from the output voltage from the solar tracking system and the panel that has a fixed position. The result obtained were recorded for four days and tabulated.
Diagram is below.


Effectiveness of tracking system


The effectiveness and reliability of the dynamic sun tracking system employing solar panel characteristic as a sensor are verified by experimental result.

Conclusion


The objective of the project was to design a system that tracks the sun for a solar panel. This was achieved through using an electrical characteristic of the panel which he opens circuit voltage that is able to detect the amount of sunlight that reaches the solar panel. 

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