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Solar Tracking System
There are many solar energy dependant systems and applications which has tow known types; concentrating and non-concentrating applications, the concentrating type of applications is subjected by this project, since this type of applications require a high degree of accuracy to ensure that the concentrated sunlight is directed precisely to the powered system or device.
Hence some kind of tracking system is necessary in order to improve the amount of power which is produced by the solar system, especially to enhance morning and afternoon performance, also the relatively high expense of trackers compared to adding more collector area and the more restricted solar angles required for winter performance, which influence the average year-round system capacity. Compared to photovoltaics, trackers can be relatively inexpensive.
This makes them especially effective for photovoltaic systems using high-efficiency panels. Some solar trackers may operate most effectively with seasonal position adjustment and most will need inspection and lubrication on an annual basis.
Also I must mention that solar trackers may be active or passive and have two types depending on the number of tacking axes; single axis and duel axis, Single axis trackers use a polar mount for maximum solar efficiency and have a manual elevation (axis tilt) adjustment on a second axis which is changed on regular intervals throughout the year, un.
In this project we will design and implement A single axis tracker because of all the above also because it increases the annual output by approximately 30%, and a dual axis tracker just adds a 6% over the single axis tracker.
2. Project Aims
This projects aims to design a single axis solar PIC microcontroller based system, that will track the sunlight using three LDR's depending on the output voltages which are fed back to the PIC microcontroller, then the PIC microcontroller in its turn will decide the best rotation angel of the servo motor that satisfies the best sunlight concentration.
Also an LCD screen will be connected to the PIC microcontroller in order to display the output voltage of the solar cell all the time; the solar cell output will feed a rechargeable battery and feedback to the PIC microcontroller just to display its output voltage
3.1 General Project Block Diagram
Project Main Components
- PIC microcontroller (PIC16F876A) (which will express the decision maker and organizer between all the peripherals of the system, this type PIC microcontrollers were chosen because it has built in modules that is useful to our project like an LCD could be connected without the need for any extra hardware interfaces.
- LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) that will be used to display the solar cell output voltage.
- Servo Motor (S35/STD) which will be used to rotate the solar cell to track the sunlight, we have used a servo motor because of its superior accuracy and torque over ordinary or stepper motors.
- Solar Cell (12 volt) it is used to collect the sun light and convert it to electrical power so it can charge a battery or power on the system, the solar cells are usually chosen to meet the desired power depending on the battery (voltage and current ratings).
- LDR (Light Dependant Resistor) that is used to receive the sun light density and deliver it to the PIC microcontroller, it is chosen to detect the sunlight density since it has proved its reliability and its low cost.
3.2 Working plan
As shown figure (1), we will design a solar tracking system based on the PIC microcontroller, where there is one solar cell that is fixed on a plate which will rotate by a servo motor, each LDR (Light Density Resistor) will output a certain voltage depending on the received sun light, to achieve this we fixed the LDR's as shown in figure below
The output of the solar cells will be fid to a rechargeable battery and also will be as input to the microcontroller to display the output voltage of the solar cells on the LCD (liquid crystal display).
- PICmicro Family Tree", PIC16F Seminar Presentation http://www.microchip.com.tw/PDF/2004_spring/PIC16F%20seminar%20presentation.pdf
- Microchip Technology (2008-02-27). "Microchip Technology Delivers Six Billionth PIC® Microcontroller". Press release.
- Nanotechnology in energy applications, pdf,
- Eduardo Lorenzo (1994). Solar Electricity: Engineering of Photovoltaic Systems. Progensa. ISBN 8486505550.
- Solar Spectral Irradiance: Air Mass 1.5. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Retrieved on 2007-12-12.