Solar tracker

Submitted: Wednesday, Mar 26, 2008 at 22:22
ThreadID: 55959 Views:3636 Replies:5 FollowUps:6
This Thread has been Archived
Has anyone out there made a solar tracker for their solar panels to save moving them during the day just set and forget I have done a google and there is several designs but of course all have their drawbacks so if any one has built one I would appreciate any feed back

Greenant
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: techo2oz - Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 07:05

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 07:05
G'day Greenant,
I built one and there are gains in usable light capture. However, wind is a big issue. The frame I initially made was lightweight to keep excess weight in the camper down. It could be adjusted in azimuth to accommodate the changing seasons and had peg holes to secure it to the ground.

However gusts of wind when the panel just happens to be in the "right position" enables it to act like a sail and no matter how it was secured, it would topple. (sometimes bending the fame) I tried making a more substantial frame which fixed the problem, however the extra weight and bulk of the frame made it unviable to take away.

I now simply move the panels around 3 times a day. The night before to point east, mid-morning to sort of point half way between east-west then mid afternoon to the west. This works best for me and is less hassle than setting up the frame etc..

The tracker I made consisted of 3 LDR's and associated circuitry. 2 LDr's used to track the sun, the third for detecting dusk which then returned the panels back to the east after a small delay.

So from my experience, unless it is to be a permanent installation, or you know someone who can weld heavier aluminium together you are better off moving them by hand.

Cheers
Peter
AnswerID: 294948

Follow Up By: Pajman Pete (SA) - Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 13:16

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 13:16
"sort of point half way between east-west"

Would that be north?

Sorry, couldn't resist. :o)

Pete
Any mug can be uncomfortable out bush

Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 560940

Reply By: traveller2 - Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 08:24

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 08:24
Most of the big users of solar like Telstra etc, learnt years ago that it is much cheaper in the long term to increase the panel size to cover the small losses when panels are fixed than fit tracking systems.
I just move my small ones manually when they are in use.
AnswerID: 294952

Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 13:54

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 13:54
The best choice for a permanent installation in an unattended location is not necessarily the best choice for a manned location where the panels have to be transported on a heavily loaded vehicle.

To get the most power out of the panels you have on your vehicle, you are best off moving them to be reasonably perpendicular to the sun.

The modern solar installation for the tourist lodge in the Wolgan Valley has ALL its panels fully tracking the sun every day.
0
FollowupID: 560950

Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 14:01

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 14:01
Here are photos of the Newnes Tracking Solar Arrays
.
0
FollowupID: 560951

Reply By: Member -Signman - Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 10:05

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 10:05
Just set the panel facing north- at an angle of your approximate latitude..
eg- Darwin 12 degs/Sydney 34 degs/ Hobart 43degs...
and if your on the Equator it would be flat..



AnswerID: 294968

Follow Up By: Pajman Pete (SA) - Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 13:18

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 13:18
Not strictly true. You have to allow for the changing declination of the sun. In Darwin in December/Jan they should face south at 12º off flat.

Pete
Any mug can be uncomfortable out bush

Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 560941

Follow Up By: Member -Signman - Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 13:24

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 13:24
OK- sorry Pete-
should I add 'at the Summer Solstice & adjust accordingly'....





0
FollowupID: 560942

Follow Up By: Pajman Pete (SA) - Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 14:29

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 14:29
That is precise enough! ;o)

For those who want to be exact - a short astronomy lecture.

The equation at local noon is Altitude =90º-(Latitude - Declination) where lat and dec have the same sign.

(This is why noon sights were so important in the days of sextant navigation. The sextant gave the altitude and you got an immediate readout of your latitude with simple addition and subtraction. Once the sun left due north (or south) you entered the realms of spherical geometry and accurate clocks to work out where you were)

eg today in Adelaide:

Latitude = 35ºS
Sun's Dec = 2.7ºN

Therefore panel angle at local noon (11:54 today) =90-(35-(-2.7)
=90-37.7
=52.3

So the panel should point north 52.3º above the horizontal at 11:54 am for maximum effect. (except it was clouded over and raining)

On the winter solstice the sun is only 31.5º above the horizon at in Adelaide at local noon.

On the summer solstice it is 78.5º above the horizon.

Which is a fair range and why a better sundial will have a correction table for the date.

In practice I just make sure the panels are pointed towards the sun then just angle them to make the largest shadow and move them when I think of it. If I am there more than one day I set them up after sunset to catch the morning sun.

Here endeth the lesson. :o)

Cheers

Pete

Any mug can be uncomfortable out bush

Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 560959

Reply By: MEMBER - Darian (SA) - Friday, Mar 28, 2008 at 09:33

Friday, Mar 28, 2008 at 09:33
One could take a philosophical view of the exercise - if we humans find any more labour saving devices we'll probably evolve into immovable objects !! Moving the panel several times a day might be all the exercise I get in coming years :o(
AnswerID: 295203

Reply By: Lithium Batteries Oz - Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 17:01

Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 17:01
There is a guy named Dave Harvey in NSW who builds portable solar trackers.
His website is- www.campatracka.com

Cheers,
Armin
AnswerID: 295428

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (14)