Solar Power Tracking System

Solar Power Tracking System

The power generated by solar cells depends on the angle between the sun's rays and the perpendicular to the cell surface. This means that a solar cell can generate more power if the position tracks the sun and the cell is aligned using appropriate algorithms. This does not automatically mean that orienting the cell perpendicular to the sun is the most efficient orientation. So there are several algorithms to choose from depending on the environment.

One of the first projects in my department was to implement a PLC-based solar tracking system for solar trees in 2011, followed by several other solar power projects. A PLC is obviously not the most efficient solution to implement a tracking system, but as an educational project it is a good way to teach some math, physics, astronomy, motion control and industrial automation, as well as basics of sustainable energy solutions.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. E. Engels

Figure: E. Engels