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Research Papers

Dual-Axis Solar Tracker Design Based on a Digital Hemispherical Imager

[+] Author and Article Information
Zakaria El Jaouhari, Youssef Zaz, Salah Moughyt, Omar El Kadmiri, Zakaria El Kadmiri

Computer Science and Systems
Engineering Laboratory,
Faculty of Sciences,
Abdelmalek Essaadi University,
Tetuan 93002, Morocco

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING: INCLUDING WIND ENERGY AND BUILDING ENERGY CONSERVATION. Manuscript received June 28, 2017; final manuscript received January 17, 2018; published online August 13, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Geoffrey T. Klise.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 141(1), 011001 (Aug 14, 2018) (8 pages) Paper No: SOL-17-1251; doi: 10.1115/1.4039098 History: Received June 28, 2017; Revised January 17, 2018

A design of a solar tracker with a new tracking method based on computer vision techniques is presented in this paper. The proposed method extracts the sun position (orientation θ, elevation φ) in real time from hemispherical sky images using a processing techniques and then drives a pair of motors to move solar panels (or heliostats) toward the sun. To ensure a wide field of view, a camera equipped with a fisheye lens is used to acquire whole sky images. The advantages of such a system are the high sensitivity to brightness compared to traditional photosensors-based trackers. Thus, the system becomes more efficient and able to determine the sun position even during cloudy days. It also operates independently of time and position which makes it reliable in case of mobile solar stations, contrary to systems based on astronomical equations.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

(a) Field of view of standard camera and (b) fisheye field of view

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Fig. 2

Flowchart of the tracking strategy

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Fig. 3

Perspective projection compared to the equidistant projection

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Fig. 4

(a) Image captured by a catadioptric system vision, which combines a perspective camera and a spherical mirror and (b) image captured by a fisheye camera

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Fig. 5

D is a region in plane, and C is its positively oriented boundary

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Fig. 6

Example of the extraction of the largest contour by comparison of each area object from the binary image

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Fig. 7

(a) Illustration of sun localization in 3D and (b) illustration of sun position using a fish-eye camera

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Fig. 8

Schematization of the sun tracking process

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Fig. 9

Fisheye lenses mounted on a perspective camera

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Fig. 10

Control unit composed of the central processing unit, a microcontroller and the command circuit. This unit is responsible for processing the information and giving the order to the motors to reach the optimum position.

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Fig. 11

Dual axis mechanism

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Fig. 12

Illustration of sun tracking system showing the major steps of the proposed solution

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Fig. 13

Comparison of the sun path using both DD Michalsky method and the proposed method

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Fig. 14

Measuring circuit

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Fig. 15

The experimental setup of power gain assessment

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Fig. 16

The comparison between the power produced by a fixed PV panel and a PV mounted on the proposed dual-axis solar tracker

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Fig. 17

Tracking system for multiple heliostats

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