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Title: Automatic Sun-Tracker Systems for Photo-Voltaic Plants
Authors: Figueiredo, Joao
Editors: Hammons, T. J.
Keywords: Solar Energy
Control Systems
Issue Date: Dec-2009
Publisher: In-Teh, Croatia
Citation: Figueiredo J. Automatic Sun-Tracker System for Photo-Voltaic Plants. in Renewable Energy. Ed. T.J. Hammons. In-Teh. Croatia,2009, pp. 17-26, ISBN 978-953-7619-52-7
Abstract: According to market economy, the increasing worldwide demand for energy, forces a continuous rise on the price of fossil combustibles. In fact, it is expected in the near future, that the demand for energy will grow faster than the finding out of new available fossil resources (Khan et al., 2007). This market behaviour brings a positive challenge to the scientific community as more funds are allocated for the research and development of new alternatives to the usual main energetic sources (fossil combustibles). In this context we have seen, in the last decades, to a concentrated focus on renewable energy research. Among these renewable energetic sources, the international scientific community has devoted intense efforts to wind, solar photovoltaic and biomass. Some investigations and hardware developments on wave energy have been led by Great Britain and Portugal (Wave-Energy-Centre). In this paper an intelligent sun-tracking system for efficiency maximization referring photovoltaic energy production is developed. Nowadays photovoltaic energy has a low efficiency ratio concerning the complete distribution chain from production to consumption (ca. 12%). In optimized environments (materials, electric inverters, tracking systems, etc) an input of 1000W of solar incident energy can bring ca. 190W in electricity (efficiency of 19%). This low performance ratio implies big Earth surface consumption when it is intended to install industrial photovoltaic units with significant production impact (50MW – 100MW). Today it is being built in south Portugal a photovoltaic plant with 64MW production capacity which occupies an huge area of ca. 400 ha (4 Km2). The more relevant side effect of the low efficiency of photovoltaic systems is its poor competition related to traditional combustibles in both economical and financial aspects. Owing to changes in the solar radiation energy and in the cell operating temperature, the output power of a solar array is not constant at all times. Consequently, a maximum solar power tracking controller is always needed in any scheme with solar cell arrays to ensure maximum utilization. Therefore, works to solve the problems on maximum power point (MPP) tracking have always been a hot topic for photovoltaic array utilization systems. A logical MPP tracking search algorithm using normalized current, voltage and power at the work points, that corresponds to the maximum power point values for different operating conditions was early tested (Atlas, 1992), (Atlas, 1996). A on-line controller to track the MPPs under changing illumination was described in (Hua & Lin, 2003). An optimization approach using fuzzy was given in (Benlarbi et al., 2004) for PV water pumping systems. Other MPP tracking controllers can be found in (Hua & Lin, 2004) and (Chen et al., 2004). This paper focuses on the optimization of the electric energy production by photovoltaic cells through the development of an intelligent sun-tracking system. The developed tracking system is innovative in relation to the usual sun tracking systems available in the market. The usual available solutions for tracking systems rely on the knowledge of the geographical position of the solar panel on the earth surface. With this knowledge it is possible to know the relative position of the sun, on a time basis, according to the well known solar tables (Solardat). Modern solutions incorporate a GPS system to calculate the position of the solar panel on the Earth surface. The orientations to be followed by the photovoltaic panel, on a regular time-base, are then pre-programmed, on an open loop approach. There are significant efforts on the optimization of sun tracking systems as it is documented by several registered international patents. These solutions are based either on the above described principle either on the quantification of the received solar energy, either on the maximization of the solar incident radiation through the use of light concentration lens or mirrors (Biee & Chace, 2009), (Rubio et al., 2007). The solution developed in this paper is innovative related to the above referred approaches as this system is autonomous regarding the information needed to process the optimal orientation and it is intelligent in a way that it monitors, on a real-time base, the photovoltaic energy production and it avoids systematic failures coming from changes on the assumed blind values (position, initial infrastructure orientation, cleanness of the photovoltaic cells, etc.).
ISBN: 978-953-7619-52-7
Type: bookPart
Appears in Collections:CEM - Publicações - Capítulos de Livros

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