The design of an Automatic Dual Axis Sun Tracking System using a microcontroller for solar energy generation help in generating solar energy for both home and office used to help prevent damages to our environment and save costs. Read more to design the Automatic Dual Axis Sun Tracking System Using Microcontroller for Solar Energy Generation.
Abstract: Automatic Dual Axis Sun Tracking System
Due to the effects of load shedding and inaccessibility to the power grid due to the remoteness of the location, people opt to use solar power as an alternative source of energy. However, low efficiencies in solar power generation make it dump expensive.
The low efficiencies associated with less advancement in technology of solar panel manufacture making solar panels have less efficiency and to light-gathering losses associated with the time changing the sun’s position. The radiation energy received was depending on the angle of the solar panel surface and the sun.
This study aimed to achieve maximum power generated by the solar panel by eliminating the light gathered losses. This was done by ensuring that the solar was oriented directly to the sun’s position at any time of the day with the help of a dual-axis sun tracker.
The dual-axis sun tracker was designed to detect the position of the sun using Light Dependent Resistor sensors and use fuzzy logic in the microcontroller to remote the motors which move the solar panel to the required position.
The dual-axis sun tracker which was designed, when tested for the power output of the solar panel, it was found that on average, the solar panel would achieve maximum power generated from the hour of 10:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m which was a much greater output as compared to a fixed solar panel which achieved maximum power output between hours of 12:00 p.m and 1:00 p.m.
A Dual-axis sun tracker would be recommended for use in solar power generation because it increases the efficiency of the solar power generated, and it’s cost-effective.
Extracting usable electricity from the sun was made possible by discovering the photoelectric mechanism and subsequent development of the solar cell.
The most widely used renewable energy sources are hydro and wind power, with solar power being moderately used worldwide. This is relatively attributed to the relatively high cost of solar cells and their low conversion efficiency.
With a peak laboratory efficiency of 32% and an average efficiency of 15-20%(Solar Tracker System 2007), it is necessary to recover as much as possible from a solar power system.
This includes reducing inverter losses, storage losses, and light gathering losses. Light gathering is dependent on the angle of incidence of the light source providing the power (i.e., the sun) to the solar cell’s surface, and the closer to the perpendicular, the greater the power.
The circuit that detected the sun’s position along the East/West and North/South axes was designed in such a way that LDR sensors were used to measure the intensity of the sun.
Two Light Dependent Resistor sensors were used for the East/West track; they were positioned on the PV panel frame on two opposite sides and work in such a way that they are used to measure the intensity of the sun at their respective position and likewise to the North/South axes.
The circuit that controlled the motor rotations was achieved by using electromagnetic relay switches, driver IC L298N. The driver IC was receiving signals at the inputs from the microcontroller and activating outputs to switch on the relays, which in turn drive the motors.
The logic program, which was executed by the microcontroller, was developed in such a way that for the East/West track, it compared the analog input values from the two LDRs positioned for the East/West track.
If the difference between the two values were greater than the set value, then it would activate output pins to drive the motor in the desired direction.
The buck converter designed was a switch-mode power supply using a few electronic components to enable efficient battery charging by the solar panel.
In designing a dual-axis sun tracker, better equipment should be considered for use, such as titanium as a better substitute for the aluminum used. Titanium has properties of lightweight, and it also has greater strength. A programmable logic controller can be a better substitute for the microcontroller used because of its higher reliability than the microcontroller.
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