Solar Panel Sun Tracker


  • Hero Member

    I'm curious if anyone has done any work on a Arduino-based Solar Panel Sun Tracker Controller especially one that could report its operation back to Vera.

    I'm working on a solar powered battery system for several remote Wi-Fi video cameras that are not easily accessible for mains power or data. The battery system will be charged from a solar panel and I'm considering how to track the sun so that the panel gets optimum exposure during the day.


  • Hero Member

    I am in the protootyping stage for just the same thing. Trying to build the construction with stepper motors first. My current thoughts on tracking are to just do the maths based on time of the day and date. Wheras before I have tried with a light-power (W/sq.m) sensor which proved to difficult (for me :)). You could also take the argument that tracking is a too expensive solution so just take the loss for the non-optimal position of the panels (~10-20%).. Also for winter time, it is hard to store enough energy considering low production and sub-optimal capacity for the accumulators... It will be nice to hear your considerations.



  • I haven't done this so I could be totally off. But I would think that if you took a stepper motor and mounted a plate with a piece of cardboard able to block enough sun. You could put a photosensor on each side and move towards the side with the most sun till they are reporting an equal value. Basically this idea http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-Solar-Tracker/ <- just one I found googling for sun tracking arduino


  • Hero Member

    It would be cool to track the sun, but my first guess is that you would use more power to track the sun than what you would gain from getting optimum exposure. Would be interesting to see a comparison of power used versus power gained.

    Cheers
    Al


  • Hero Member

    It's generally cheaper and easier to add more solar panel and not track. Same result, but without the hassle or maintenance of a tracker. Obviously this comes with the caveat of a proper static orientation.


  • Hero Member

    @AWI did you consider using http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/grad/solcalc/ ?
    should be possible to convert into movements reasonably easily :-)
    I agree that its probably more waste of energy and money, but so much fun! and you can probably fit the same system on your turret gun tower and track intruders.


  • Hero Member

    @Moshe-Livne I'm using a similar calculation, was not very hard to code. A real tracker would be a challenge. Measuring where the sun really is... and checking the calculation. I tried to adjust a solar panel to the place of most light. I you don''t damp (integrate and compensate) the movement it goes in all directions when there are some clouds. Lots of fun though.


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