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Author Topic: Solar panel alignment employ a small boy or use a robot  (Read 1340 times)
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Most solar panels don't follow the sun as it tracks slowly across the sky.
One solution is to tip a boy to adjust your panels from time to time.

Now robots are being used. Instead of automating individual panels the robot does the job of the boy and trundles round moving the panels from time to time. It is claimed this increases efficiency by 20% over static panels. The robots can also give the panels a clean. Sounds like a smart idea.

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And think that 40 years ago my parents used to ask me to walk out to align the TV antenna from time to time depending on the shows.
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My design school teacher said they used clocks to move sun-trackers back in the 1930's. You do have to adjust the inclination by hand every day or so.

Make a panel with a ring of of photo-sensors close around a rod perpendicular to the center. When it casts a shadow you know which way to turn until it doesn't. That needs no MCU at all.

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A ramp with a mechanical clock like device?

aim the panel in the morning sun at the highest point of the ramp an during the day it "ticks" to the lower end?

possible?
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My design school teacher said they used clocks to move sun-trackers back in the 1930's. You do have to adjust the inclination by hand every day or so.

Make a panel with a ring of of photo-sensors close around a rod perpendicular to the center. When it casts a shadow you know which way to turn until it doesn't. That needs no MCU at all.



I like that!
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A ramp with a mechanical clock like device?

aim the panel in the morning sun at the highest point of the ramp an during the day it "ticks" to the lower end?

possible?

Just tilt the turn axis so it will be perpendicular to sunlight.
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Lets say I have 2000,000 solar panels.

Should I really fit some kind of solar tracking device to each even if I can gain 20% more output?
I don't think so that is why most solar panels are static.

However it does make sense to put the panels on a "deck chair" type arrangement (assuming they are on the ground and not a roof) and adjust their vertical alignment month by month.

Also tracking the panels during the day is not a bad idea, but for goodness sake not with motors on each!!!!
Employ a boy.


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Lets say I have 2000,000 solar panels.

Lets say you turn them all at once with one motor using linkages or other mechanical means?

Or you can have 'a boy' trying to keep 2 million panels aligned which yeah, good luck! Or you say goodbye to 20% of the power from the investment that 2 million panels costs.


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Near my house (Phoenix, AZ) is ASU West. They have a huge solar panel installation on the corner of 51st Avenue and Thunderbird Road. The panels are all mounted on a central axis that runs parallel to the ground, and rotates the panels as the sun goes overhead from east to west (so maximum sunlight is gathered from dawn to dusk); when it gets dark, they reset back to point east for the next day's sun.

For our latitude, a full 2-axis tracker isn't really needed; the benefit of it isn't there, it would take up more room, and hold fewer panels. More complexity, more maintenance, more things to break. There are some people that have them (most are private residences), but I think they got sold a bill (most people just throw them up on their roof facing south - good enough for most).

About the only thing they have to do that is still "manual" is cleaning. They drive a truck slowly up and down the rows, and a guy in the back with a pressure washer sprays them down to knock the dust off.
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