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A Low-Cost Closed-Loop Solar Tracking System Based on the Sun Position Algorithm

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journal contribution
submitted on 2023-03-15, 11:52 and posted on 2023-07-13, 09:03 authored by E. H. Chowdhury, Amith Khandakar, Belayat Hossain, Rayaan Abouhasera

Sun position and the optimum inclination of a solar panel to the sun vary over time throughout the day. A simple but accurate solar position measurement system is essential for maximizing the output power from a solar panel in order to increase the panel efficiency while minimizing the system cost. Solar position can be measured either by a sensor (active/passive) or through the sun position monitoring algorithm. Sensor-based sun position measuring systems fail to measure the solar position in a cloudy or intermittent day, and they require precise installation and periodic calibrations. In contrast, the sun position algorithms use mathematical formula or astronomical data to obtain the station of the sun at a particular geographical location and time. A standalone low-cost but high-precision dual-axis closed-loop sun-tracking system using the sun position algorithm was implemented in an 8-bit microcontroller platform. The Astronomical Almanac’s (AA) algorithm was used for its simplicity, reliability, and fast computation capability of the solar position. Results revealed that incorporation of the sun position algorithm into a solar tracking system helps in outperforming the fixed system and optical tracking system by 13.9% and 2.1%, respectively. In summary, even for a small-scale solar tracking system, the algorithm-based closed-loop dual-axis tracking system can increase overall system efficiency. 

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Published in: Journal of Sensors
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  • English



Publication Year

  • 2019

Institution affiliated with

  • Qatar University

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