Two degrees of freedom Mechatronic solar tracking system was developed in the present study to improve the performance of photovoltaic cell panels. The present tracking control algorithm was applied on a small prototype, designed and constructed in this work, simulating a solar cells panel tracking system. The Mechatronic tracking hardware section consists mainly of a commercial arduino micro-controller with built in, two servo motor drivers, data input/output modules, and a microprocessor. Other components of the tracking hardware are, servo motors actuators and four LDR light intensity sensors. A feedback control software program, designed and constructed in the present work, enables the solar tracker to automatically compensate for the sun location`s change to enhance the PV cells efficiency. The LDR sensors are employed to continuously detect the sun rays intensity at four, light exposed isolated positions, representing up-right, up-left, down-right, and down-left sides of the solar panel. LDRs data is hence sent to the control software. The data is used to decide proper actuation actions and send them to the servomotors to redirect the PV cells panel perpendicular to incident sun rays. Sensors and actuation signals are exchanged via the in/out data module of the Arduino package. Results of the present experimental work show that using the present tracking system increases the PV cell out power by about 38% compared with that of a fixed collector.

Posted by: Osama A. Montasser, Associate Professor, The British University in Egypt, BUE, Egypt (29-Nov-2014)