Automation

Automatic Solar Radiation Tracker for Maximum Solar Energy

Solar 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. The solar tracker we are designing and constructing  in this project offers a reliable and affordable method of aligning a solar module with the sun in order to maximize its energy output.

The concept

    In a normal day to day life the solar system we observe s basically fixed at a particular angle with respect to the ground so that it can capture the sun’s energy in a day light and use it afterwards for the other industrial or household purposes by storing it in a battery. But the actual problem arises when we try to maximize the solar energy level with current scenario, which is very difficult to obtain.

  The impact

Sun tracking solar panels are to wholly change the scene of solar energy. Until now, we used fixed solar panels on our roofs and solar farms. But with the evolution of sun tracking solar panels, we will be able to harvest maximum amount of electricity in a day. Even on a cloudy day, you won’t have to meet the shortage of power, because the moving solar panels can generate power more power that day. However, the technology is in its infancy stage. More developments are needed to bring advanced sun tracking solar panels into existence, which could ensure better output than the existing solar panels.

Solar cell

Photovoltaic energy is the conversion of sunlight into electricity. A photovoltaic cell, commonly called a solar cell or PV, is the technology used to convert solar energy directly into electrical power. A photovoltaic cell is a non mechanical device usually made from silicon alloy .The photovoltaic cell is the basic building block of a photovoltaic system. Individual cells can vary in size from about 0.5 inches to about 4 inches across. However, one cell only produces 1 or 2 watts, which isn’t enough power for most applications

Block Diagram:

block diagram
block diagram

  Components Used : –

  • Solar panel
  • Power Supply
  • Microcontroller (PIC 18F4550)
  • Liquid Crystal Display
  • Servo Motor
  • Battery

Solar Panels

There are 4 types of Solar Panels

  1. MONO CRYSTALLINE
  2. POLYCRYSTALLINE
  3. CAST POLYSILICON
  4. AMORPHOUS SOLAR PANELS

SOLAR PANEL EFFICIENCY DETAILS:

Monocrystalline- 18%

Polycrystalline- 15%

Amorphous (thin-film)- 10%

Microcontroller (PIC 18F4550)

PIC is a family of Harvard architecture microcontrollers made by microchip technology, derived from the PIC1640 originally developed by general instrument’s microelectronics divison. The name PIC initially referred to “Programmable interface controller”, but shortly thereafter was renamed as “Programmable Intelligent Computer ”. PIC is popular due to their low cost , wide availability ,large user base, extensive collection of application notes ,availability of low cost or free development tools and serial programming (and re-programming with flash memory) capability.

LDR & LED

LDR is made from a chemical compound called cadmium sulfide (CdS). This compound changes resistance depending on how bright the light is that shines on its collecting surface. Bright light causes low resistance values between the two leads while dim light causes higher resistance values.

Liquid Crystal Display

The visible displays are the universal means of human output. Displays may be grouped into three categories:

  • Single lights
  • Single character
  • Intelligent alphanumeric

    Servo Motor

    At the most basic level, a servo is just a controllable motor. There are various types of servos. The Standard Servo is a geared down motor that has a limited range of rotation. These servos use internal electronics to identify the current angle of the motor, and using an input signal, are told what position is desired. The electronics then perform calculations and will make the motor spin one way or the other to move to the desired position.

    ¢Most servos utilize a form of PWM to receive the desired position from a controller. This is done by having a PWM signal with a period of 20ms. It would be very easy for another device to measure the duty-cycle or pulse time and use that to receive data simply by adjusting the duty-cycle of the signal. In this case the servo receives the PWM signal and measures the time that the signal is high. There are some variations for maximum and minimum pulse durations among the servos. However, all servos should position the servo arm (or ‘horn’) at the mid-point of its range of motion when the pulse received is 1.5ms. Most servos have a maximum input of 2.0ms, and a minimum input of 1.0ms. So if you were to send a pulse for 1.0ms, the servo would go to one end of travel, and it would go to the other end if you sent a pulse for 2.0ms.

     

    Expected Result & Conclusion:

    The proposed sun tracker automatically tracks the sun capturing maximum solar power with help of microcontroller. The system tracks the sun both in normal and bad weather condition. The tracker can initialize the starting position itself which reduce the need of any more photo resistor. Summer solstice and winter solstice problem is solved manually by tilting the panel with the help of fine screw arrangement.

    This is an efficient tracking system for solar energy collection with the increase of 18% in the efficiency level of solar energy consumption.

     

    Future Scope

    Solar energy is one of the most reliable alternative power options. Across the world, green enthusiasts have accepted solar panels as a means to harvest alternative energy. There are various kinds of solar cells that you can use in different ways to produce power from sunlight and heat. Most traditional solar cells are static and they can generate power when the sunlight flashes on them. The green world is now going behind some recent sun chasing solar cells that can follow sun as it moves from the east to west to provide better output in generation of alternative power

    1.Smart sun-Chasing solar panels        2.Sun-tracking Solar LED streetlight

    3.GPS to track the sun

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