The following document details the research and development of an Automatic Solar radiation tracker. Fossil fuels are a relatively short-term energy source; consequently, the uses of alternative sources such as solar energy are becoming more wide spread.
To make solar energy more viable, the efficiency of solar array systems must be maximized. A feasible approach to maximizing the efficiency of solar array systems is sun tracking. Proposed in this report is a system that controls the movement of a solar array so that it is constantly aligned towards the direction of the sun.
Solar modules are devices that cleanly convert sunlight into electricity and offer a practical solution to the problem of power generation in remote areas. The solar tracker designed and constructed in this project offers a reliable and affordable method of aligning a solar module with the sun in order to maximize its energy output.
Automatic Sun Tracking System is a hybrid hardware/software prototype, which automatically provides best alignment of solar panel with the sun, to get maximum output (electricity).
If we could configure a solar cell so that it faces the sun continually as it moves across the sky from east to west, we could get the most electrical energy possible. One way to do this, of course, is by hand. However, keeping a solar cell facing the sun throughout the day is not a very efficient use of a person’s time. Going outside to a solar cell every hour to turn it toward the sun might be possible, but this would still not be an efficient method.
A photo sensor is employed to control the solar cell tracking system. For example, if the photo sensor is not aligned with sun rays, then it could turn on the motor until it is once again aligned. If the motor is attached to the frame holding the solar cell, then the solar cell could be moved to face the sun. As long as the photo sensor is in alignment with the sun, nothing happens. However, when the sun moves across the sky and is not in proper alignment with the photo sensor, then a motor moves the frame until the photo sensor is in the sun once more. This could have the effect of keeping the solar cell facing the sun as it moves across the required human attention.
So we need a tracking system that would automatically keep the solar cell facing the sun throughout the day. We have to build an automated system of our own, using a single motor. The system includes a frame on which a solar cell could be mounted. The frame is to move so that it faces the sun as it travels across the sky during the day. The frame could be driven by an electric motor that turns on and off in response to the movement of the sky. Here in this thesis work, panel itself work as a sensor.
Author: Romy Kansal
Source: Thapar University