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Product Category: Projects

Product Code: 00006824

No of Pages: 63

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This study aims to design a solar tracking system based on microcontroller Arduino using sensors to facilitate optimum solar panel positioning. The system consists of several electronic components such as microcontroller, sensors, batteries, DC motor. The research method used in this experiment is a direct test of the tool. The result of this final product is a microcontroller, based solar tracking system that uses sensors to check for high sun rays. Based on the results of the manufacture, operation and testing of tools. It is known that the working mechanism of microcontroller-based solar tracking system using ultrasonic sensor, works in accordance with expectation and supporting theories.  


Title page i
Declaration ii
Certification iii
Dedication iv
Table of content vi
List of Table viii
List of figures ix
Abstract x

1.0 Background 1
1.1 Statement of problems 7
1.2 Objectives 7
1.2.1 Aim 7
1.2.2 General objectives 7
1.3 Significances 8
1.4 Limitations 8

2.1 Thermal application of solar energy 9
2.2 Electrical application of solar energy 11
2.3 Factors affecting the efficiency of solar cells 19
2.4 Types of solar PV modules 20
2.5 Components of PV system 22
2.6 Rays transmission from sun 25
2.7 Solar angles 27

3.1 Materials 29
3.1.1 DC Motor 29
3.1.2 Light dependent resistor (LDR) 30
3.2 Methodology 33
3.2.1 Theoretical framework 33
3.2.2 Study design 35
3.3 Solar tracking system 36
3.4 Mathematical calculations 42
3.4.1 Solar calculations 42
3.4.2 Torque calculation 44
3.5 Design 45
3.5.1 Mechanical design 45
3.5.2 Electrical design 47

4.1 Experiment results 49
4.2 Analysis 52

5.1 Conclusion 53
5. 2 Recommendation 53


Table 1: solar Energy production by countries 6

Table 2: Types of concentrator 11

Table 3: Photovoltaic array output for sunny bright day 49

Table 4: LDR output for cloudy day 50

Table 5: LDR output for bright day 51


Figure 1: Layers of solar PV module 3

Figure 2: Photoelectric effect in PV cell 12

Figure 3: I-V Curve of solar cells 15

Figure 4: Pictorial form of PV panel 18

Figure 5: Pictorial presentation from solar cell to solar array 19

Figure 6: Types of solar cells     20 

Figure 7: Solar design configuration 25

Figure 8: Earth’s energy budget 26

Figure 9: Low speed high torque DC Motor 12V/14RPM 29

Figure 10: RDR characteristics 39

Figure 11: A Light speed dependent resistor 32

Figure 12: Schematic diagram of single-axis solar tractor/ double-axis solar tractor 33

Figure 13: Variation in Trajectory of Sun from winter to summer 34

Figure 14: Sample flow chart of tracking system with component 35

Figure 15: Study design process 36

Figure 16: Power comparism of dual-axis, single-axis and fixed-axis mode 38

Figure 17: Sun path diagram for Dhulikhel 39

Figure 18: Algorism for tracking 41

Figure 19: Mechanical view of solar tracking system 45

Figure 20: Circuit diagram 48


When it comes to the development of any nation, energy is the main driving factor. There is an enormous quantity of energy that gets extracted, distributed, converted and consumed every single day in the global society. The world population is increasing day by day and the demand for energy is increasing accordingly. Oil and coal are the main source of energy nowadays but there is a fact that the fossil fuels are limited and hand strong pollution. Even the price of petroleum has been increasing year by year and the previsions on the medium term there are not quite encouraging. Utilization of this resources increases the emission of carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen chloride (HCL), Nitrogen Oxides, and Sulphur Oxides which are responsible for the global warming and greenhouse effect. This results the devastating effect in the environment. With the view point of minimizing above mentioned problems, many researched have been carried since late 19th century by researchers and engineers. Renewable energy sources as an alternative to fossil fuel were the major found out. They are derived from natural processes that are replenished constantly. Renewable energies are inexhaustible and clean. The energy comes from natural resources such as sun, wind, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. Solar energy is quite simply the energy produced directly by the sun. The history of solar energy is as old as humankind. In general, solar energy is radiant light and heat from the sun harnessed using a range of technologies such as photovoltaic and concentrator. In the last two centuries, we started using Sun's energy directly to make electricity. In 1839, Alexandre Edmond Becquerel discovered that certain materials produced small amounts of electric current when exposed to light. In 1876, When William Grylls Adams and his student, Richard Evans Day, discovered that an electrical current could be started in selenium solely by exposing it to light, they felt confident that they had discovered something completely new. Werner von Siemens, a contemporary whose reputation in the field of electricity ranked him alongside Thomas Edison, called the discovery “scientifically of the most far-reaching importance.” This pioneering work portended quantum mechanics long before most chemists and physicist had accepted the reality of atoms. Although selenium solar cells failed to convert enough sunlight to power electrical equipment, they proved that a solid material could change light into electricity without heat or any moving parts. Later in 1905 Albert Einstein published the first theoretical work describing the photovoltaic effect titled “Concerning a Heuristic Point of View Toward the Emission and Transformation of Light.” In the paper, he showed that light possesses an attribute that earlier scientists had not recognized. Light, Einstein discovered, contains packets of energy, which he called light quanta. Einstein’s bold and novel description of light, combined with the [1898] discovery of the electron, gave scientists in the second decade of the twentieth century a better understanding of photo electricity. They saw that the more powerful photons carry enough energy to knock poorly linked electrons from their atomic orbits in materials like selenium. When wires are attached, the liberated electrons flow through them as electricity. By the 1920s, scientists referred to the phenomenon as the “photovoltaic effect.” In 1953, Bell Laboratories (now AT&T labs) scientists Gerald Pearson, Daryl Chapin and Calvin Fuller developed the first silicon solar cell capable of generating a measurable electric current. The New York Times reported the discovery as “the beginning of a new era, leading eventually to the realization of harnessing the almost limitless energy of the sun for the uses of civilization. After years of experiments to improve the efficiency and commercialization of solar power, solar energy gained support when the government used it to power space exploration equipment in 1958. The first solar-powered satellite, Vanguard 1, has traveled more than 197,000 revolutions around Earth in the 50 years. Consequently, in 1982 and 1985 first solar parks and retractable RV solar panels are created respectively. In 1994, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory developed a new solar cell from gallium indium phosphide and gallium arsenide that exceeded 30% conversion efficiency. By the end of the century, the laboratory created thin-film solar cells that converted 32% of the sunlight it collected into usable energy due to dedicated research worldwide, the efficiency of photovoltaics has continued to increase while production costs have also dropped substantially over the years. A solar cell (also called a photovoltaic cell) is an electrical device that converts the energy of light directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect. A solar panel is a set of solar photovoltaic modules electrically connected and mounted on a supporting structure. The layer of solar module is shown in Figure 1 

Figure 1: Layers of solar PV module

The majority of modules use wafer based crystalline silicon cells or thin-film cells based on cadmium telluride or silicon. The structural member of a module can either be the top layer or the back layer. Electrical connections are made in series to achieve a desired output voltage and in parallel to provide a desired current capability. Several types of solar cells are available. Monocrystalline Solar Cells, Polycrystalline Solar Cells, Amorphous Silicon (a-Si) Solar Cells, Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) Solar Cells. Their efficiency is 24.5% on the higher side. Three ways of increasing the efficiency of the solar panels are through increase of cell efficiency, maximizing the power output and the use of a tracking system. Maximum power point tracking (MPPT) is the process of maximizing the power output from the solar panel by keeping its operation on the knee point of P-V characteristics. MPPT technology will only offer maximum power which can be received from stationary arrays of solar panels at any given time.  Automatic solar tracker increases the efficiency of the solar panel by keeping the solar panel aligned with the rotating sun. Solar tracking is a mechanized system to track the sun’s position that increases power output of solar panel 30% to 60% than the stationary system. S. Shanmugam et al. had given the tracking of the sun for solar paraboloid dish concentrators in 2005. Rong-Jong Wai et al. had given grid connected photovoltaic (PV) generation system with an adaptive step-perturbation (ASP) method and an active sun tracking scheme in 2006. Cemil Sungur had given the electromechanical control system of a photovoltaic (PV) panel tracking the sun on the axis it moved along according to its azimuth angle in 2007. The elevation angle of the sun be in the same place almost invariant in a month and varies little (latitude ± 10°) in a year. Therefore, a single axis position control scheme may be enough for the collection of solar energy in some applications (Konar and Mandal, 1991. Yeong-Chau, et al., 2001. Wilamowski and Xiangli, 2002). The change in sun’s position is monitored, and the system always keeps that the plane of the panel is normal to the direction of the sun. A few design methodologies of solar tracking system have been proposed in recent days. 

Solar energy distribution in global context
The global solar energy market has enjoyed growth at an exceptional rate over the recent years, facilitated by the rising solar power output from world’s top solar energy producing countries. With the growing demand for alternative and eco-friendly energy that significantly reduces carbon emissions around the world, many major countries have been rapidly increasing the capacity of their solar power facilities and other renewable energy installations over the past few years. While the global solar energy market continues to surge, the world’s top solar energy producing countries, including China, Japan, Germany and the USA are expected to maintain their leadership in global solar energy capacity in the future. Within global renewable energy installations, solar power plants have enjoyed the fastest growth in volume over the past few years. Thanks to the vast availability and certainty of sunlight, solar power projects have outperformed other forms of renewable energy sources such as wind and geothermal. Moreover, with the advancements in technologies, including concentrated solar power generation techniques, and a decline in prices of PV modules, solar energy has become the most cost-effective source of renewable energy. [9] According to the report from BP, total solar PV power generating capacity reached 301 GW by the end of 2016, representing a 33.2% increase from 2015. A total 75 GW of new installations were added to the global solar energy capacity in 2016. The largest increments in 2016 were recorded in China (34.5 GW) and the US (14.7 GW), together accounting for two-thirds of the growth in global solar capacity. Japan provided the third largest addition (8.6 GW). China also leads in terms of cumulative installed capacity (78.1 GW), with more than a quarter of the global total. Japan (42.8 GW) moved past Germany (41.3 GW) to take second place, with the US (40.3 GW) now close behind Germany. 

Table 1: Solar energy production by country
Rank Country Total Capacity GW, 2016 
1 China 78.07
2 Japan 42.75
3 Germany 41.22 
4 United States 40.3 
5 Italy 19.28 
6 United Kingdom 11.63 
7 India 9.01 
8 France 7.13 
9 Australia 5.9 
10 Spain 5.49

The main goal is to keep solar PV panel perpendicular to the sun throughout the day in order to increase the energy generation. Dual axis solar tracking system can be an effective way to increase the efficiency of solar cells. The devastating problem on both biotic and abiotic components of our home (i.e. pollution) can be reduced by using solar energy as the major source for power generation. The natural gift like fossil fuels, woods, etc. which are limited in amount can be saved from crisis and extinction. For people, due to its more efficiency and less harmful impacts dual axis solar tracking system might be good decision for the intermediate future. So, this project can practically demonstrate effect of this variation to people.

1.2.1 Aim
To design and fabricate a dual axis PV system that tracks the sun path.

1.2.2 General Objectives 
i. To study different solar parameters and methods of harvesting solar energy. 

ii. To understand the working mechanism of PV module and tracking system.

• Solar tracking systems continually orient photovoltaic panels towards the sun and can help maximize your investment in PV system. 

• One-time investment which provides higher efficiency and flexibility on dependency. 

• Energy production is an optimum and energy output is increased year around.

• The reading taken will be compromised by the weather. 

• The readings and tracking system are as good as the calibration of low-cost materials to be used in the system.

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