TIME OPERATED SOLAR TRACKING SYSTEM | Mechanical Project
Solar trackers are a nice addition to any solar panel array. They help increase the time that panels directly face the sun and allow them to produce their maximum power. Unfortunately they can be expensive to buy. We decided to make our own solar tracker to see if we could reduce the cost. We did not want to re-invent the wheel but wanted to make it more affordable. We started out small and came up with the idea of solar tracking using time instead of using a device that would sense where the sun is and move the panels toward it. The objective of this project is to control the position of a solar panel in accordance with the motion of sun and also clean the surface of the solar panel to increase the efficiency of the photovoltaic cell. Brief Methodology: This project is designed with solar panels, RTC, Microcontroller, Stepper Motor and its driving circuit with wiper. In this project RTC is used to find or the location of Sun.
Renewable energy is rapidly gaining importance as an energy resource as fossil fuel prices Fluctuate. At the educational level, it is therefore critical for engineering and technology students To have an understanding and appreciation of the technologies associated with renewable Energy. One of the most popular renewable energy sources is solar energy. Many researches were conducted to develop some methods to increase the efficiency of Photo Voltaic systems (solar Panels). One such method is to employ a solar panel tracking system. This project deals with a RTC based solar panel tracking system. Solar tracking enables more energy to be generated because the solar panel is always able to maintain a perpendicular profile to the sun’s rays. Development of solar panel tracking systems has been ongoing for several years now. As the sun Moves across the sky during the day, it is advantageous to have the solar panels track the Location of the sun, such that the panels are always perpendicular to the solar energy radiated by the sun. Another reason for the reduced efficiency of the solar cells is due to the dust particles Gets deposited on the panels over a period of time. In order to keep the panels clean we use Wipers at regular interval of time. This will tend to maximize the amount of power absorbed by PV Systems. It has been estimated that the use of a tracking system, over a fixed system, can increase the power output by 40% – 60%. The increase is significant enough to make tracking a viable preposition despite of the enhancement in system cost.
Design requirements are:
1) during the time that the sun is up, the system must follow the sun’s position in the sky.
2) This must be done with an active control, timed movements are useful. It should be totally automatic and simple to operate. The operator interference should be minimal and restricted to only when it is actually required.
The major components of this system are as follows.
1) RTC (Real Time Clock)
3) Output mechanical transducer (stepper motor).
1) Computer-controlled stepper motors are one of the most versatile forms of positioning systems. They are typically digitally controlled as part of an open loop system, and are simpler and more rugged than closed loop servo systems.
2) Industrial applications are in high speed pick and place equipment and multi-axis machine CNC machines often directly driving lead screws or ball screws. In the field of lasers and optics they are frequently used in precision positioning equipment such as linear actuators, linear stages, rotation stages, goniometers, and mirror mounts. Other uses are in packaging machinery, and positioning of valve pilot stages for fluid control systems.
3) Commercially, stepper motors are used in floppy disk drives, flatbed scanners, computer printers, plotters, slot machines, and many more devices.
Sachin is a B-TECH graduate in Mechanical Engineering from a reputed Engineering college. Currently, he is working in the sheet metal industry as a designer. Additionally, he has interested in Product Design, Animation, and Project design. He also likes to write articles related to the mechanical engineering field and tries to motivate other mechanical engineering students by his innovative project ideas, design, models and videos.