June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Energy Conversion and Conservation
14.122.1 - 14.122.11
Design and Implementation of A Sun Tracking Solar Power System
A senior design project is an integral part of the undergraduate engineering technology degree program requirements at a four-year engineering technology institution. All students are required to complete a two-semester long (4 credit hours) senior design project. Three electrical engineering technology undergraduate students formed a senior design project team to design and implement a sun tracking solar power system. A majority of solar panels in use today are stationary and therefore do not output the maximum amount of power that they can actually produce. This paper describes the senior design project that utilizes solar power to its full potential by tracking the sun throughout the day. The solar tracker follows the sun from east to west during the day. More energy is collected by controlling the solar panel to follow the sun like a sunflower. The solar tracking system is a mechatronic system that integrates electrical and mechanical systems, and computer hardware and software. The main components in the solar tracking system are standard photovoltaic solar panels (PV), a deep cycle rechargeable battery, battery charger, stepper motor, signal conditioning circuits and a BasicX-24p microcontroller.
Solar energy conversion is one of the most addressed topics in the field of renewable energy. Solar radiation is usually converted into two forms of energy: thermal and electrical energy. The solar electricity has applications in many systems such as rural electricity, water pumping and satellite communications.
The efficiency of the photovoltaic (PV) system depends on the climate conditions of solar radiation, ambient temperature and wind speed, matching of the system with the load and appropriate placement of the solar panels. A majority of solar panels in use today are stationary and therefore do not consistently output the maximum amount of power that they can actually produce. A solar tracker will track the sun throughout the day and adjust the angle of the solar panel to make the sun normal to the solar panels at all times. The orientation of the solar panels may increase the efficiency of the conversion system from 20% up to 50%. [1-3]. The sun tracking solar power system is a mechatronic system that integrates electrical and mechanical systems, and computer hardware and software.
SYSTEM GENERAL DESCRIPTION
The initial requirements for this project were as follows: 5 watt to 10 watt solar panel Design structure to support 15 lbs Design enclosure to protect electrical equipment Use microcontroller to control and monitor the system
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