Photovoltaic (PV) systems are experiencing exponential growth due to environmental concerns, unlimited and ubiquitous solar energy, and starting-to-make-sense panel costs. Alongside designing more efficient solar panels, installing solar trackers and special circuitry for optimizing power delivery to the load according to a maximum power point tracking (MPPT) algorithm are other ways of increasing efficiency. However, it is critical for any efficiency increase to account for the power consumption of any amendments. Therefore, this paper aims to propose a novel tracker while using MPPT to boost the PV system's actual efficiency accounting for the involved costs.
The proposition is an experimental pneumatic dual-axis solar tracker using light-dependent resistor (LDR) sensors. Due to its embedded energy storage, the pneumatic tracker offers a low duty-cycle operation leading to tracking energy conservation, fewer maintenance needs and scalability potential. While MPPT assures maximum load power delivery, the solar PV's actual delivered power is calculated for the first time, accounting for the solar tracking and MPPT power costs.
The experiments' results show an increase of 37.6% in total and 35.3% in actual power production for the proposed solar tracking system compared to the fixed panel system, with an MPPT efficiency of 90%. Thus, the pneumatic tracking system offers low tracking-energy consumption and good actual power efficiency. Also, the newly proposed pneumatic stimulant can significantly simplify the tracking mechanism and benefit from several advantages that come along with it.
To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this work proposes, for the first time, a single-motor pneumatic dual-axis tracker with less implementation cost, less frequent operation switching and scalability potential, to be developed in future works. Also, the pneumatic proposal delivers high actual power efficiency for the first time to be addressed.
Fathi, M., Amjadifard, R., Eshghi, F. and Kelarestaghi, M. (2022), "Design and implementation of a novel multi-faceted-efficient pneumatic dual-axis solar tracker", World Journal of Engineering, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/WJE-04-2022-0173
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