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Dual Axis Solar Tracker: The Key to Increased Efficiency

dual axis solar tracker

A solar tracker is a device that orients a solar panel or array of panels toward the sun to maximize the amount of energy harvested from the sun’s rays. As the name suggests, a dual axis solar tracker uses two axes of movement to track the sun’s position in the sky. 

These two axes are typically the azimuth (left to right) and the sun’s altitude (up and down).

A dual axis solar tracker is essential because it increases solar panels’ efficiency by ensuring that they are always pointed directly at the sun. This can increase the energy that a solar panel or array can produce by as much as 30-40%. This is particularly useful in locations with low sun angles, such as at high latitudes or during the winter months.

Dual Axis Solar Tracker Using Arduino

Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on simple software and hardware. It can be used to control and monitor a wide variety of devices and systems, including a dual axis solar tracker. The essential components needed for a dual-axis solar tracker using Arduino.

Arduino include:

Arduino board (such as an Arduino Uno or Mega)

Servo motors (for controlling the movement of the solar panel)

Light sensors (for detecting the position of the sun)

Wires and cables for connecting the components

Programming the Arduino is relatively straightforward and can be done using the Arduino Integrated Development Environment (IDE). The Arduino IDE is a free software application that can be downloaded from the Arduino website. Once the Arduino is programmed, it can be used to control the movement of the servo motors based on the data from the light sensors.

Using Arduino for dual axis solar trackers has many advantages. One of the most significant advantages is that it is relatively inexpensive and easy to use. Arduino boards and components are widely available and can be purchased at a low cost. Additionally, the Arduino IDE provides a user-friendly interface for programming and uploading code to the board. 

This makes it accessible to people with limited programming experience.

Another advantage of using Arduino for a dual-axis solar tracker is that it is highly customizable. The Arduino platform is open-source, meaning users can modify and adapt the code to suit their specific needs. This allows for the creation of unique and customized solar tracker systems.

Feature

Single Axis Solar Tracker

Dual Axis Solar Tracker

Number of axes

1

2

Tracking accuracy

Moderate

High

Energy output

Moderate

High

Suitable for

Locations with moderate sun angles

Locations with low sun angles

Cost

Less expensive

More expensive

This table compares Single Axis and Dual Axis Solar Tracker; it shows that dual-axis solar trackers have high tracking accuracy and energy output and are suitable for locations with low sun angles, but it’s more expensive. While Single-axis solar trackers have moderate tracking accuracy and energy output and are suitable for locations with moderate sun angles, it’s less expensive.

Dual Axis Solar Tracker Project

Building a dual axis solar tracker using Arduino can be a fun and educational project. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to build a basic dual-axis solar tracker:

Gather all the necessary components, including an Arduino board, two servo motors, light sensors, wires, and cables.

Connect the light sensors to the Arduino board.

Connect the servo motors to the Arduino board.

Program the Arduino using the Arduino IDE to control the movement of the servo motors based on the data from the light sensors.

Mount the solar panel to the servo motors.

Test the solar tracker by pointing it toward the sun and observing the movement of the servo motors.

Building a dual-axis solar tracker can be challenging, especially if you are new to electronics or programming. However, many resources available online, such as tutorials and forums, can provide guidance and support.

Materials and tools required are:

  • Arduino Board
  • Servo Motors
  • Light sensors
  • Wires and cables
  • Tools like Screwdrivers, Soldering iron, etc.
  • Potential challenges and solutions that may arise during the building process include:
  • Difficulty in programming the Arduino: Solution – seek help from online resources or consult an expert.
  • Difficulty in connecting the components: Solution – refer to the datasheets of the components and consult an expert if needed

Dual Axis Solar Tracker System

Design considerations for a dual Axis Solar Panel Tracker System include:

The type of solar panel is used

The location and climate of the system

The desired level of accuracy and precision

Different types of sensors can be used for the dual axis solar tracker system, including:

Photovoltaic (PV) sensors: These sensors detect the amount of light falling on the solar panel and can be used to determine the sun’s position.

Sun sensors: These sensors detect the sun’s position in the sky and can be used to control the movement of the solar panel.

Weather sensors: These sensors measure weather conditions such as temperature, humidity, and wind speed, which can affect the performance of the solar tracker.

Control algorithms play an essential role in the performance of the dual axis solar tracker system. These algorithms can be used to control the solar panel’s movement based on the sensors’ data. Some common control algorithms include:

Perturb and Observe (P&O) algorithm: This algorithm uses the power generated by the solar panel to determine the optimal position of the panel.

Incremental Conductance (IC) algorithm: This algorithm uses the current and voltage generated by the solar panel to determine the optimal position of the panel.

Maintenance and troubleshooting are essential aspects of a dual-axis solar tracker system. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning and tightening loose connections, can ensure optimal performance and longevity of the system. Common troubleshooting issues include:

Servo motors not moving correctly: Solution – check the connections and programming of the servo motors.

Incorrect readings from sensors: Solution – check the connections and calibration of the sensors.

Hogan Escalon, CA – 1 day tracking July 5th

Marysville CA – south-east angle – Sept 17 2016 

Marysville CA – south-west angle – Sept 17 2016 

Conclusion:

In conclusion, dual axis solar tracker is a device that orientates a solar panel or array of panels towards the sun to maximize the amount of energy harvested from the sun’s rays. They increase the efficiency of solar panels by ensuring that they are always pointed directly at the sun.

Using Arduino as a microcontroller for a dual axis solar tracker has many advantages. It is relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and open-source, meaning that users can modify and adapt the code to suit their specific needs. Building a dual axis solar tracker using Arduino can be a fun and educational project. However, it may be challenging for people new to electronics or programming, but many resources available online, such as tutorials and forums, can provide guidance and support.

Design considerations for a dual Axis Solar Tracker System include the type of solar panel, the location and climate of the system, and the desired level of accuracy and precision. Control algorithms play an essential role in the performance of the dual-axis solar tracker system. Regular maintenance and troubleshooting are essential for a dual-axis solar tracker system to ensure optimal performance and longevity.

If you have any quries about solar panels contact Solar Earth Inc or call @ (805)691-8000 to get free consultation.

FAQs

A dual-axis solar tracker is a device that orients a solar panel or array of panels towards the sun to maximize the amount of energy harvested from the sun's rays. It uses two axes of movement, typically the azimuth (left to right) and the sun's altitude (up and down), to track the sun's position in the sky.
A dual-axis solar tracker uses sensors to detect the sun's position in the sky. The data from these sensors is used to control the movement of the solar panel or array on two axes, azimuth, and altitude, to ensure that it is always pointed directly at the sun.
A: The main benefit of using a dual-axis solar tracker is that it can increase the amount of energy produced by a solar panel or array by as much as 30-40%. This is particularly useful in locations with low sun angles, such as at high latitudes or during the winter months.
A: Regular maintenance, such as cleaning and tightening loose connections, can help ensure the system's optimal performance and longevity. However, the frequency of maintenance required will depend on the specific system and location.
Dual-axis solar trackers can generally be used with most solar panels. However, ensuring that the solar panel is compatible with the specific dual-axis solar tracker system is essential.
The lifespan of a dual-axis solar tracker will depend on the specific system and its location. However, a dual-axis solar tracker can last for upto 6 years with proper maintenance