Date

6-2010

Degree Name

BS in Electrical Engineering

Department

Electrical Engineering Department

Advisor

Dale Dolan

Abstract

This project will be a design and implementation of a polar single axis solar panel tracker. It will have a fixed vertical axis and an adjustable horizontal motor controlled axis. This setup is similar to an office swivel chair. The tracker will actively track the sun and change its position accordingly to maximize the energy output. To prevent wasting power by running the motor continuously, the tracker will correct it's position after 2 to 3 degrees of misalignment. The sensors will compare the light intensities of each side and move the panels until the tracker detects equal light on both sides. Additionally, it will prevent rapid changes in direction that might be caused by reflections, such as cars passing by. A rear sensor circuit is also incorporated to aid in repositioning the solar panels for the next sunrise. The gear motor will have overturn triggers to prevent the panel from rotating 360° and entangling wires. The motor control and sensing circuitry will run on batteries charged by the solar panel. This project will use three small 10W solar panels of approximately 15 inches by 10 inches to model larger panels used in industry.

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