Solar tracking control: The game changer

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  • //engmag.in/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Solar-Tracking-Control-in-Solar-Energy-Sector-300×170.jpg” alt=”solar tracking system, Solar Tracking Control, Solar energy sector” width=”300″ height=”170″ />A study of Oxford University researchers claims that by 2027, the global share of solar energy would reach up to 20 percent; almost 8 times higher than its present share which is only 1.5 percent. And, India is one of the top beneficiaries of this growth trend. In 2016, India strives vehemently for clean energy; the country becomes the world’s fourth largest solar market, beating Germany, United Kingdom (UK), and France in a close contest. Technology emerges as the driving force for this overwhelming transition, and solar tracking becomes the game changer.
  • A solar tracking system is meant to move Photovoltaic (PV) modules for ensuring maximum exposure to the sun that eventually leads to optimum irradiation. In the technical terms, the solar tracker is an extremely useful device that orients a payload (solar panels, lenses, Fresnel reflectors, parabolic troughs, etc.) toward the sun.There was a time when the majority of PV panels was stationary mounts, i.e., in a fixed position. When the sun used to pass to a less-than-optimal angle, a compromise with reduced output was the only alternative. Now, with the advent of solar tracking control, the results are brighter as well as cost-effective.
  • A paradigm shift

  • Usually, in flat-panel PV systems, trackers reduce the angle of incidence between the sunlight and PV panel.The //www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/rotation-axis”>rotation axis can be horizontal axis tracking, vertical axis tracking, polar tracking, and two axis mount tracking. This results in higher energy production from the existing solar power generating capacity, even in the peak hours of the day.Blessed with this revolutionary technology, the solar energy sector is emerging as the best renewable energy option in present times.
  • Apart from the position of the sun in the sky, the performance of PV also depends on various other factors such as location, season, and the time of day. An ideally positioned PV generates optimal energy output during the day and the tracking system plays the pivotal role in this regard. Moreover, saving cost on energy is a topmost priority of solar energy consumers and a solar tracking system is efficient in this task, too.
  • Advantages of Solar Tracking Control

  • They generate more electricity than stationary counterparts, which is almost 10 to 25% more depending on the geographic location of the tracking system. There are numerous advantages that come packed in Mitsubishi Electric Solution. The Trigonometric Functions help in complex math functions for calculating the solar azimuth and zenith angles. The Real Number Processing Data gives high precision data manipulation to accurately calculate solar position. Under PLC to PLC Communication, serial communications and networks allow for fast time synchronization, maintenance and monitoring of the tracking station. Analog interface provides precise inclinometer reading for accurate array positioning and inputs for monitoring wind speed. For example, if wind speed is higher than normal,thenthe position of the controller structure is made parallel to the ground, to avoid any structural damage. Resistance Temperature Detectors (RTD) interface is provided for temperature monitoring. The Mitsubishi Electric Solution also has dedicated VFD protocol for advanced panel positioning that helps in continuous panel movement monitoring, simplified tracker programming, and reduced tracker downtime during maintenance. The Robust Security for Program Protection prevents unauthorized access to solar tracker algorithm while allowing routine maintenance checks.
  • It also has user defined function blocks and libraries that give simple replication of code to reduce tracker programming errors and time. The solution also comes with self diagnostics system for monitoring of internal components to prevent unnecessary downtime, system protection and overload functions. The self diagnostics enables accurate planning for maintenance checks of the trackers and avoids damage to tracker components. The IP67F panel is optional compliant solution which comes with 5-yearwarranty.
  • How Solar Tracker works

  • Concentrated solar photovoltaics and concentrated solar thermal have optics that directly accept sunlight, so solar trackers must be angled correctly to collect energy. Single-axis solar trackers rotate on one axis moving back and forth in a single direction. Different types of single-axis trackers include horizontal, vertical, tilted, and polar aligned, which rotate as the names imply. Dual-axis trackers continually face the sun because they can move in two different directions. Motors and gear trains direct active solar trackers by means of a controller that responds to the sun’s direction. Finally, a chronological tracker counteracts the Earth’s rotation by turning in the opposite direction.
  • The onset of cost-effective energy

  • In comparison to fixed-position installations, solar tracking systems are more effective in curtailing energy cost and making solar a viable alternative to conventional sources of energy. Levelized Cost of Energy (LCoE) is the most authentic yardstick to check the efficiency of solar power plant. LCoE is the summation of all types of costs including initial installed cost, wear and tear costs, and trouble-shooting. That’s why apart from bringing precision, the solar tracking control system must also be durable and cost-efficient with active operational life equal to the PV module.
  • Selection of the right technology

  • To garner best results from the technology, it is the responsibility of the top decision-makers in an organization to choose the best solar tracking control solution and Mitsubishi Electricis the industry leader in this segment.There are innumerable benefits that Mitsubishi Electric offers to its solar tracking control system’s clients. Some of them are mentioned below.
    • High precision data manipulation to accurately calculate solar position
    • Serial communications and networks allow for fast time synchronization, maintenance and monitoring of the tracking station
    • Precise inclinometer reading for accurate array positioning
    • Inputs for monitoring excessive wind and temperature at installation
    • Dedicated VFD protocol forcontinuous panel movement monitoring
    • Simplified tracker programming
    • Reduced tracker downtime during maintenance
  •  No compromise with safety

  • Apart from these unique attributes, Solar Tracking Solutions of Mitsubishi Electric are also embedded with high-end security features. They prevent unauthorized access to the solar tracker algorithm while allowing routine maintenance checks. Empower the customer with user-defined function blocks and libraries for simple replication of code to reduce tracker programming errors and time. Enable accurate planning for maintenance checks of the trackers and avoid damage to tracker components. Also, as they are equipped with high wind speed alarm and temperature alarm and are effective to safeguard control equipment from potential damage.
  • Article by —
  • //engmag.in/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Virendra_san-1.jpg” alt=”Virendra Bagde, Mitsubishi Electric India Private Limited.” width=”107″ height=”122″ />Mr. Virendra Bagde
  • Senior Manager Sales – Solar Vertical
  • Factory Automation & Industrial Division
  • Mitsubishi Electric India Private Limited.
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