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ARDUINO BASED AUTOMATED SOLAR

TRACKING SYSTEM

Project report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement


For the assessment of subject:

ENGINEERING EXPLORATION
By:

MD IRTESAM 2018BEC116 A50


RATIK ZADE 2018BEC099 A52
PRATIK RATHOD 2018BEC089 A47
ADITYA SHETE 2018BEC093 A49
PRANJACT PATIL 2018BEC087 A46

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Summary

A detailed analysis has been presented in order to investigate the Solar Energy
systems containing Solar Tracker. A solar energy tracking system was
mechanically designed in RNXG lab and a prototype was manufactured using
mainly existing components.
A simple Arduino board was used which was connected and programmed in order
to create a dynamic solar tracking system.
Dynamic solar tracking systems is a proposed approach in order to increase the
overall
Energy received by a solar panel. Testing the physical model determined the
feasibility of operating a solar energy system with the aid of a solar tracker.
Prototype designed was tested in different light conditions where it full filled our
basic requirements.

The actual cost is estimated to be in range of ₹1550 if solar panel cost is included.

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Acknowledgements

We as a team would like to express my deep gratitude to Workshop department


and RNXG Club of Institute for providing the required Materials.
Our supervisor`s for their guidance, patient, encouragement, critiques and
everlasting help on this thesis. We would like to thank and show deep appreciation
to Kshitij , a Final year student , who spent his time in order to make us clear with
some electronics principles while helping use finalize a prototype.

We would also like to thank our mentors Dr. A.B. Gonde, Dr. S.T. Hamde, Mrs.
V.V. Khista who provided us with courage and moral support. A special thanks to
our course teachers Mr. Sumit Rathore, Mr. S. D. Wattamwar for always being
with us and Mr. Murli Mohan for helping us Initiallize our task.

Last but not least, We would like to thank our institute for introducing a subject
which not only helped use develop some new concept but also practically
implement it.

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Table of Content

Introduction……………………………………………………….……..5
Aims and objectives……………………………………………………..6
Need statement…………………………………………………………..7
Objectives ………………………………………………………….……7
Distribution of specification…………………………………………..…7
Pair-wise comparison chart…………………………………………..….8
Preference as per PCC…………………………………………….…..8
Problem statement: …………………………………………………..…9
Alternative solutions…………………………………………………….9
Based on types of panels…………………………………………9
Solar photovoltaic panel ………………………………..…9
Thin film solar panel …………………………………….10
Solar thermal panel………………………………………10
Concentrated photovoltaic ………………………....……11
PUGH Chart……………………………………………………12
Based on type of structures………………………………….…13
Single Axis Tracker…………………………………….…13
Bubblesun solar panel (hemispherical)……………………13
DualAxisTracker………………………………………...…14
Materials required…………………………………………………..…16
Specifications……………………………………………………….…17
Solar panels…………………………………………………17
LDR………………………………………………………….17
Servo Motors……………………………………………..….17
Arduino…………………………………………………..…..18
Connecting wires……………………………………………..18
Resistors……………………………………………………….19
Power Supply………………………………………………….19
Construction of dual Axis Tracker…………………………………..…19
Working of dual axis Tracker…………………………………….….…20
Gnatt Chart………………………………………………………..……20
Block Diagram………………………………………………………….21
Cost Analysis……………………………………………………22
References………………………………………………………...……23
Appendix 1………………………………………………………..……24
Appendix 2-code………………………………………………….…….25
Appendix 3-flowchart…………………………………………..………27

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Introduction

Greenhouse effect has given rise to global warming due to the excess amount of
CO2 in the atmosphere resulting in unpredicted climate changes worldwide; an
integral concern for the world.
John Mankins (2010), a 25-year NASA Veteran and head of the IAA study, said
“There is a consensus among scientists that greenhouse gas emissions pose a great
risk of irreversible global climate change. Hence, during the course of the century,
it seems critical that the mix of energy sources must shift away from fossil fuel,
even as the overall demand for energy soars.”
Thus it’s significant that humanity and scientist concentrate on reducing this
phenomenon via alternative ways of producing energy ratherthan fossil fuels;
environmentally friendly and mainly obtained from natural sources such
as wind, sun and water.

“You’d be hard pressed to find another industry with 26% job growth rate for
2011” said by Rhone Resch (2011) president of the Solar Energy Industries
Association.

In addition to that, Navigant Consulting states that by 2025, more than 25% of
nation’s energy must origin from solar energy.

Both statements referred to a considerably new way of energy production which


seeks into the nearest future to capture a big share in the world of energy and
manufacturing, called Solar Energy.

Even though there is huge improvement in harvest of energy from non


conventional sources still improvements need to take place for the creation of more
reliable and efficient solar energy systems.
Mainly, designers concentrate on the intensity source of radiation and ways of
storing the productive energy. The proposed and most effective way of improving
the efficiency of the system is by setting the system to continuous and direct
exposure to the intensity source of radiation; thus, collecting more energy over
time.

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There are two methods for increasing the mean intensity of solar radiation received
by a Solar cell.

 The first method is by focusing the incident ray onto a rigid array, this will
force the incident-ray’s path to reach normal to the array surface.

 The second method is the use ofsolar tracking system, which operates by
tracking the radiation of the sun.

Solar tracking systems are divided into two categories; dynamic tracking and fix
control algorithm tracking.

Aims and objectives

The main aim of this thesis is to create an engineering design prototype and
demonstrate the benefits of a solar tracking system. Testing in real life the
prototype will prove that a solar tracker can increase the efficiency of the system.

Initial objective of the thesis was the design of a single axis solar tracking system
operated by a dynamic tracking system. However the limitations a
single axis system has on the aspect of geographical position of the system,
changed the system’s configurations to a dual-mode axis. As aimed for a
worldwide services thus Universal Solar Tracker.
Potential improvements and modifications of the prototype will conclude this
thesis.

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Need Statement

Convention sources are getting depleted day by day. So, there are less amount of
sources left to produce energy.
Hence, we need to exploit more part of non- conventional source best of which is
solar energy but still there is demand to yield more solar energy in lesser areas.

Objectives

 Ease of use
 Cost
 Size
 Power rating of panel
 Durability
 Portability
 Safety
 Storage capacity of Battery

Distribution of specification:

Sr no. Objective Constraint Mean Function


To harass solar
1 Cost Safety ---
energy
2 Size
3 Ease of use

4 Portability
5 Durability
Ease of
6
Installation

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Pair-wise comparison chart:

Ease of Ease of
TOTA
Cost Size use Portability Durability installation
L

1
Cost __ 1 1 1 1 5

Size 0 __ 0 1 0 0 1

0
Ease of Use 1 __ 1 0 1 3

0 0 0 0 0
Portability __ 0

Durability
0 1 1 1 __ 1 4

Ease of 0 1 0
1 0 __ 2
Installation

Preference as per pcc :


1. Cost
2. Durability
3. Ease of use
4. Ease of installation
5. Size
6. Portability

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Problem statement:
The exploitation of solar energy is not upto the mark with fixed solar panels.
Hence, we need to develop a device which exploits more solar energy. So, we need
to make a device which will track the position of sun with the help of some sensors
and we will achieve the rotation of panel according to position of sun.

Alternative solutions
Alternative solutions are used to design different prototypes. To find best possible
design of product(i.e prototype), it is necessary to the best solution available.
In the following tracker we had two important worries
 First one was design of panel to be used
 Second was a designing a feasible structure for harassing solar energy
So we found the solution for both problems separately

 Based on TYPES OF PANELS

1. Solar photovoltaic panel


2. Thin film solar panel
3. Solar thermal panel
4. Concentrated photovoltaic solar panel (cpv)

 Solar photovoltaic panel


They are made up of crystalline silicon solar cell. They are flat rectangular plate.
Crystalline silicon is the common material used. It is reliable and long term energy
production. Its efficiency is 20%

 Nominal 12V
 Number of cells 36
Open Circuit Voltage 22V
 Max Power Volts 18V

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 Thin film solar panel

 It is made up of thin semiconductor layer on thin solar panel.


 Thinner and flexible
 Thin film are less efficient
 Efficiency lies in between 6% -11%.
 Easy to install.
 Easy to handle and use.

 Solar thermal panel

 It is complementary method of
solar power consumption.
 It is not used to produce
electricity but uses solar
energy to heat water.
 It uses pipes filled with water
in conjuction with the panels.
 They are used in mild climate.
 Its efficiency is same as that of PV.

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 Concentrated photovoltaic

 It used mirror and lenses to enhance the concentration of sunlight.


 The whole arrangement is mostly fixed.
 Efficiency is 41.6%.
 They are expensive.
 CPV focuses sunlight on photovoltaic to maximise current output.

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PUGH Chart

SR SOLAR THIN THERMAL


WEIGHTAGE PHOTO- FILM CPV SOLAR
NO. FEATURES
VOLTAIC SOLAR PANEL
PANEL PANEL

1 Cost 4 - + - --
2 Ease of use 2 ++ ++ 0 --
3 Size 2 +++ 0 ++ -
4 Power rating 4 +++ + ++ 0
5 Portability 1 - - + --
6 Durability 3 ++ 0 ++ -
7 Safety 4 ++ ++ 0 0
8 Storage 3 +++ + ++ +
capacity

9 To harass 4 +++ + +++ +


solar energy

10 Ease of 2 + ++ - --
installation

POSITIVE 59 31 37 7

NEGATIVE 5 1 6 23

TOTAL 54 30 31 -16

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 Based on type of structures

Based on structure we have the following


solutions

1. Single axis tracker


2. Bubblesun solar cell
3. Dual axis tracker

1. Single axis tracker

Single axis solar trackers track the sun in only one direction. Axis direction is
determined according to the geographical position of the system.
In tropical regions, where the sun gets very high at noon but the days are short,
horizontal axis is used.
Single axis tracker can increase the annual output of a solar energy system by a
minimum of 30%.

2. BUBBLESUN solar panel (HEMISPERICAL)

This is special entry in list due the Solar


cell of this kinds are not moved instead a
cell is made in a hemispherical glass
frame in a way that it captures the sun
light from any direction above the ground.
It`s a good guard in completely adverse
weather conditions

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It is hemispherical in shape
 It contain the coil mounted by a hemispherical glass surface
 It is light weight. Fig: Hemispherical Solar Plate

 Panel is made up of entirely plastic, hence there is no risk of rusting or


lines build up.
 It is sturdy and resistant to adverse condition.
 Efficiency of Bubblesun solar panel is up to 50%.

3. Dual axis tracker

Meanwhile, vertical axis is used in high latitudes, where the sun does not get very
high and days are longer.
On the other hand, dual axis solar trackers, involves tracking the source of
radiation in both horizontal and vertical axle. This type of solar trackers can
operate with the same efficiency all over the world due to the dual-axis commands
it can receive. Dual-axis tracker can increase the annual output efficiency by a
minimum of 36%. However, they are more mechanically complicated in designing
and installation. Two motor are usually used for dual axis instead of one for a
single axis.
A dual axis solar tracker will provide you with the higher
energy production, where a single axis solar tracking system follows with a small
difference of 2.9%. The difference between the two moving systems and the CPV
is significantly large.
Thus, according to your design principles, a choice between the two systems that
are in motion should be taken.

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Pugh chart

SR FEATURES WEIGHTAGE SINGLE AXIS BUBBLESUN DUAL AXIS


NO. TRACKER SOLAR CELL TRACKER

1 Cost 4 + ++ 0

2 Ease of use 2 + ++ +

3 Size 2 0 -- ++

4 Power rating 4 + +++ +++

5 Portability 1 0 0 0

6 Durability 3 0 -- ++

7 Safety 4 + + +

9 To harass 4 + ++ +++
solar energy

10 Ease of 2 + +++ +
installation

POSITIVE 23 42 40

NEGATIVE 0 10 0

TOTAL 23 32 40

Finally after above research and discussion we decided to go


with dual axis tracker and solar photovoltaic panel.
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Design Module

Effective planning of circuit was done and following circuit connection was given
a try:

Materials required
1. Solar panels
2. LDR sensors(4 min)
3. Servo motors (2 minimum)
4. ARDUINO board
5. Connecting wires
6. Resistors
7. Power supply

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Specifications
Solar panel:

Nominal 12V

Number of cells 36
Open Circuit Voltage (Voc) 22V

Max Power Volts 18V

LDR :
Resistance: 400Ω - 400K
Normal resistance Variation: 1K - 10K
Sensitivity: About 3m sec
Voltage ratings: 3V,5V and 12V

The simplest optical sensor is a photon resistor or photocell which is a light


sensitive resistor these are made of two types, cadmium sulfide (CdS) and gallium
arsenide (GaAs).
The sun tracker system designed here uses two cadmium sulfide (CdS) photocells
for sensing the light. The photocell is a passive component whose resistance is
inversely proportional to the amount of light intensity directed towards it. It is
connected in series with capacitor. The photocell to be used for the tracker is based
on its dark resistance and light saturation resistance. The term light saturation
means that further increasing the light intensity to the CdS cells will not decrease
its resistance any further. Light intensity is measured in Lux, the illumination of
sunlight is approximately 30,000 lux .

Servo motors:
Tiny and lightweight with high output
power. Servo can rotate approximately
180 degrees (90 in each direction), and
works just like the standard kinds but
smaller. You can use any servo code,
hardware or library to control these
servos. Good for beginners who want

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to make stuff move without building a motor controller with feedback & gear box,
especially since it will fit in small places. It comes with a 3 horns (arms) and
hardware.

• Weight: 9g
• Dimension: 22.2 x 11.8 x 31 mm approx.
• Stall torque: 1.8 kgf·cm
• Operating speed: 0.1 s/60 degree
• Operating voltage: 4.8 V (~5V)
• Dead band width: 10 µs
• Temperature range: 0 ºC – 55 ºC

ARDUINO BOARD:
Arduino is open-source hardware and software company, project and user
community that designs and manufactures single-board
microcontrollers and microcontroller kits for building digital devices and
interactive objects that can sense and control objects in the physical and digital
world. Features of the Arduino Mega are as follows:

 Microcontroller: : ATmega328
 Operating Voltage : 5V
 Input Voltage (recommended) : 7-12V
 Input Voltage (limits) : 6-20V
 Digital I/O Pins : 14 (of which 6 provide PWM output)
 Analog Input Pins :6
 Flash Memory : 32 KB
 SRAM : 2 KB (ATmega328)

CONNECTING WIRES:

Jumper wires or Single lane wire will be used.

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RESISTORS
4 resistors of 100k ohm are required--------------------------------------

POWER SUPPLY
Arduino requires basic power supply upto 12v therefore we can use a dc adaptor of
12 v or dc power supply of 12 v

Constructions of dual axis solar tracker

Initially the Position of both the motors is being set after that the Voltage of LDR
is checked.
After this process the Orientation of sun is being estimated, according to which
the sunlight falls on the LDR. There are four LDR used On four sides of solar panel
at which sunlight falls, out of These two work for horizontal and two works for
vertical Movement of panel. The voltages of x axis sensors are Compared as well
as y axis sensors, as a result of which The panel moves in clockwise/anticlockwise
or Upward/downward direction. The direction of movement Of panel is always in
the direction of maximum sun light. So, the solar tracker provides higher
efficiency.

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Working of dual axis tracker

Initially solar panel will be kept east facing. When sunlight falls on LDR timer will
be started in a controller and after every 24 minutes solar panel will change its
angle by 6°.

This will continued till sun sets. After that we have our timer value with us and
LDR is missing light so it will come back to its initial position i.e East facing
position.

Gantt Chart

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BLOCK DAIGRAM

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Cost Analysis
A cost analysis procedure was performed where the retail price of the solar tracker
was calculated. One of the initiating objectives of the project was to manufacture a
significantly cheap solar tracker. Solar trackers available in the market of India,
range from 600UKP to 2000UKP. Thus, our aim was to build a solar tracker,
whose price would allow the seller to add an extra 25% profit. The 25% profit was
calculated by comparing retail prices of products manufactured by Harwal Group
of Companies with the selling prices used by distributors of their products. The
choice of materials were chosen in such a way so that the retail price will range
between ₹ 1500 to ₹ 2000 detailed costing datasheet is provided below where
shipping is excluded.
MATERIAL Price
PV PANEL ₹ 200
SUPPORT Base ₹80
PVC DISC ₹10
Servo sg90 ₹120
Servo mg995 ₹325
ARDUINO Mega ₹670
Wires ₹50
LDR (sensors) ₹32 (4*8)
Resistors ₹8 (2*4)

OTHER (INCLUDING PACKING COST) ₹20

TOTAL MATERIAL COST ₹1515

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References

PC in Control, (2008). How to Create a Solar Panel that Tracks the Sun
[online], pc-control, Available from:
http://www.pc-control.co.uk/howto_tracksun.htm [Accessed 23 October
2012].

Runyon, J. (2010). 2011 Outlook for Clean Energy Jobs in the U.S. –
Beating the Trend [online], Renewable Energy World, Available from:
http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/11/2011-
outlook-for-clean-energy-jobs-in-the-u-s-beating-the-trend [Accessed: 18
October 2012].

Sandri,, A.,J, S.A.J. and Hooshmand, H.P. (2012) A Survey Study on


Hybrid Photovoltaic System:Technical
and Economical Approach. Journal of Basic and Applied Scientific
Research. 2 (1), pp. 327-333.

Shastry.,S.Automatic Sun Tracking System for Solar Panel.2011, 2012,


November/12, Slide
share, http://www.slideshare.net/shasze/automatic-sun-tracking-
system#btnNext
Solar In – Depth [online]. Solar Cell Central, Available from:
http://solarcellcentral.com/solar_page.html

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Appendix 1

The earth is a planet of the sun and


revolves around it. Besides that, it also
rotates around its own axis. There are thus
two motions of the earth, rotation and
revolution. The earth rotates on its axis
from west to east. The axis of the earth is
an imaginary line that passes through the
northern and southern poles of the earth.
The earth completes its rotation in 24
hours. This motion is
responsible for occurrence of day and
night. The solar day is a time period of 24 hours and the duration of a sidereal is 23
hours and 56 minutes. The difference of 4 minutes is because of the fact that the
earth’s position keeps changing with reference to the sun.

The movement of the earth round the sun is known as revolution. It also happens
from west to east and takes a period of 365 days. The orbit of the earth is elliptical.
Because of this the distance between the earth and the sun keeps changing. The
apparent annual track of the sun via the fixed stars in the celestial sphere is known
as the ecliptic. The earth’s axis makes an angle of 66.5 degrees to the ecliptic
plane. Because of this, the earth attains four critical positions with reference to the
sun .

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Appendix 2

Source code (for Arduino)

#include <Servo.h>
//defining Servos
Servo servohori;
int servoh = 0;
int servohLimitHigh = 130;
int servohLimitLow = 60;

Servo servoverti;
int servov = 0;
int servovLimitHigh = 130;
int servovLimitLow = 60;
//Assigning LDRs
int ldrtopl = 2; //top left LDR white
int ldrtopr = 1; //top right LDR yellow
int ldrbotl = 3; // bottom left LDR blue
int ldrbotr = 0; // bottom right LDR orange

void setup ()
{
servohori.attach(10);
servohori.write(0);
servoverti.attach(9);
servoverti.write(0);
delay(250);
}

void loop()
{
servoh = servohori.read();
servov = servoverti.read();
//capturing analog values of each LDR
int topl = analogRead(ldrtopl);
int topr = analogRead(ldrtopr);
int botl = analogRead(ldrbotl);
int botr = analogRead(ldrbotr);
// calculating average
int avgtop = (topl + topr) / 2; //average of top LDRs
int avgbot = (botl + botr) / 2; //average of bottom LDRs
int avgleft = (topl + botl) / 2; //average of left LDRs

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int avgright = (topr + botr) / 2; //average of right LDRs

if (avgtop < avgbot)


{
servoverti.write(servov +1);
if (servov > servovLimitHigh)
{
servov = servovLimitHigh;
}
delay(5);
}
else if (avgbot < avgtop)
{
servoverti.write(servov -1);
if (servov < servovLimitLow)
{
servov = servovLimitLow;
}
delay(5);
}
else
{
servoverti.write(servov);
}

if (avgleft > avgright)


{
servohori.write(servoh +1);
if (servoh > servohLimitHigh)
{
servoh = servohLimitHigh;
}
delay(5);
}
else if (avgright > avgleft)
{
servohori.write(servoh -1);
if (servoh < servohLimitLow)
{
servoh = servohLimitLow;
}
delay(5);
}
else
{
servohori.write(servoh);

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}
delay(25);
}

Appendix 3 (Flowchart)

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A Glimpse………..

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