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Solar Tracking Control– Revolutionizing the Energy Sector

The need for clean energy has been realized by many countries across the world in the last few years. In fact, recent times have seen quite a race among the nations that strive to integrate solar energy into their infrastructures to emulate more environment-friendly policies.

In 2016, India’s endeavors in the field of clean energy helped it become the fourth largest solar market, beating Germany, United Kingdom (UK), and France in quite a close competition. Technology has been a driving force behind this overwhelming transition, of which, solar tracking can be considered as a major game-changer.

About Solar Tracking

Earlier, it was not always possible for a payload (solar panels, lenses, Fresnel reflectors, parabolic troughs, etc.) to be facing the sun at all times. The PV (Photovoltaic) panels were fixed on stationary mounts and when the sun used to pass at a less-than-optimal angle, the output would be compromised. Today, with solar tracking control, the results are brighter as well as more cost-effective.

In technical terms, a solar tracking system is meant to move PV modules for ensuring maximum exposure to the sun that eventually leads to optimum irradiation. This basically means that the solar tracker is an extremely useful device that can orient a payload towards the sun.

A Paradigm Shift in the Solar Energy Sector

The solar tracking system can play a pivotal role in energy generation. Usually, with a fixed structure-PV panel system, trackers work to reduce the angle of incidence between sunlight and the PV panel.

With this revolutionary technology in place, the solar energy sector is slowly but surely emerging as the best renewable energy option available today, which is also cost-effective.

Features of the Solar Tracking Control System

There are numerous advantages that can be availed with solar tracking control systems by Mitsubishi Electric. There are several features that the tracking system utilizes, which help it stand out:

  • Generates more electricity than stationary counterparts (10 to 25% more).
  • The system can calculate the solar azimuth and zenith angles using trigonometric functions.
  • The system uses real number processing data, for high precision data manipulation, to accurately calculate solar position.
  • Under PLC to PLC Communication, serial communications and networks allow fast synchronization, maintenance and monitoring of the tracking station.
  • Analog interface provides precise inclinometer readings for accurate array positioning and inputs for monitoring the wind speed in the area. For example, with higher than normal wind, then the position of the controller structure is made parallel to the ground to avoid structural damage to PV modules.
  • System has Resistance Temperature Detectors (RTD) for temperature monitoring.
  • System has dedicated VFD protocol for advanced panel positioning to continuously monitor panel movement, simplified tracker programming, and reduced tracker downtime during maintenance.
  • The Robust Security for Program Protection prevents unauthorized access to the solar tracker algorithm.
  • System has user-defined function blocks and libraries for simple replication of code to reduce tracker programming errors.
  • It also comes with self-diagnostic systems to monitor internal components to prevent unnecessary downtime, system protection, and overload functions. The self-diagnostics also enable accurate planning for maintenance checks of trackers and help avoid incurring damage to the tracker.
  • The IP67F panel is an optional compliant solution with a 5-year warranty.

Types of Solar Trackers

There are different types of single-axis trackers available, which include horizontal, vertical, tilted, and polar aligned trackers, which rotate as their names imply. With dual-axis trackers, your PV modules can continually face the sun as they can move in two different directions.

Cost-Effective Energy Generation

Levelized Cost of Energy (LCoE) is the most authentic yardstick for checking the efficiency of a solar power plant. LCoE is the summation of all types of costs involved in the process, like the initial cost of installation, wear and tear costs, etc. Solar tracking systems are effective in helping curtail energy costs and making solar energy a viable alternative to conventional sources of energy.

Selecting the Right Solar Tracking Technology

To garner the 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 available. Mitsubishi Electric is the industry leader in this segment and there are innumerable benefits that one can avail with Mitsubishi Electric Solutions:

  • High precision data manipulation for the accurate calculation of the solar position
  • Serial communications and networks for fast real-time synchronization, maintenance, and monitoring tracking station
  • Accurate array positioning
  • Monitoring excessive wind and temperatures
  • Dedicated VFD protocol
  • Simplified tracker programming
  • Reduced tracker downtime during maintenance

No Compromise with Safety

Solar Tracking Solutions by Mitsubishi Electric also come with high-end security features. They prevent any unauthorized access to the tracker algorithm and empower customers with user-defined function blocks and libraries that can be utilized for simple replication of code. This is done for two purposes: -

1) To reduce the tracker’s programming and time errors

2) For accurate planning for maintenance checks to mitigate the damage of tracker components

Solar tracking systems have already revolutionized the energy sector. With the unbeatable advantages offered with Solar Tracking Solutions, Mitsubishi Electric has managed to mark its position as an industry leader in the energy sector.

Watch Article4 SEP 2019
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