Tracing the Sun: Dual Axis Solar Tracker System

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Solar energy is coming up as a major source of energy. The need of the hour is renewable energy resources with cheap running costs. With the current systems for solar energy harvesting, we have high production only at fixed times mostly noon. This project proposes a dual axis solar tracker system that increases the productivity by a significant margin.

Solar Angles

The angle of inclination ranges between -90° after sun rise and +90° before sunset passing with 0° at noon. This makes the collected solar radiation to be 0% at sunrise and sunset and 100% at noon. This variation of solar radiations collection leads the photovoltaic panel to lose more than 40% of the collected energy. In this project, we take you through designing a Solar tracker so that you maximise on the solar energy collection.

Designing the Dual Axis Solar Tracker system

This system requires involvement of a wide range of engineering including mechanical electrical and electronics. The system can be broken down into these three domains as well.

The mechanical part would involve designing a smooth gear system to move as per requirement. The electrical part would be the working of solar panel and battery requirement. The electronics would involve designing the sensor system that would generate commands for the gear system to act accordingly.

Electronics component list:

S.No. Component Quantity
1 Transformer step down 12-0-12 1
2 Voltage Regulator 7805 1
3 Transistor npn 4
4 Diode 2
5 Capacitor 3
6 Variable Resistor 4
7 Light dependent resistors (LDR) 4
8 Microcontroller 89S52 1
9 Motor driver uln2003a 2
10 Solar  Panel (all black) 1
11 Unipolar stepper motor 2
12 Crystal oscillator 12 Mhz 1

The system employs spur gear for the implementation of the dual axis solar tracker.

Dual axis Solar Tracker System
Fig: A Spur Gear

A spur gear is a simplest type of gear and can be seen a lot of applications including clocks and escalators. It consists of teeth protruding perpendicular to the circumference of the wheel.

For the dual axis rotation we propose the arrangement mentioned in the diagram below.

Dual axis solar tracker
Dual axis rotation

The system is implemented using Atmel IC AT89C51. The circuit design for the system would be:

Dual axis Solar Tracker System
Fig: Circuit diagram
Fig: PCB Layout on desktop
Fig: PCB Layout on desktop
Dual axis solar tracker system
Fig: Circuit implementation of Dual axis solar tracker system

dual axis solar tracker

Final Results

Dual Axis Solar Tracker project is to provide an efficient solar distributed generation system. At maximum, the solar tracker is perpendicular to the light source. The built system has a calculated annual energy gain of 48.982% compared to an immobile solar panel. Compared to a single axis tracker, the dual-axis tracker has an annual energy gain of 36.504%.
The purpose of a solar tracker is to accurately determine the position of the sun. This enables solar panels interfaced to the tracker to obtain the maximum solar radiation. With this particular solar tracker a closed-loop system was made consisting of an electrical system and a mechanical system with the help of electronics.


Feel interested? Check out other electronics projects.

 

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69 COMMENTS

  1. What is the torque of unipolar stepper motor you used
    Please give details about this project at my email.l faced some problems in this project please help me

  2. Can I take all this project
    I need this for my graduation project
    I need the code and the program used it
    And circuit design
    And system building

  3. I was just wondering what code you used for this and how did you go about designing the gear for it to move? If you could email me the details? That would be greatly appreciated, I’m designing a solar panel for camping in the summer time and being able to hook up a trailer and it would be great to have an idea of how to put this together. [email protected]

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