In 2050, the world is aiming to achieve net-zero emissions. This result could be possible if the carbon emission is reduced by 45 percent by 2030.
After hydro and wind power, photovoltaic energy is the third-largest source of renewable energy. According to the “International Energy Agency,” the photovoltaic industry is expected to grow by 700-800 GW from 2019 to 2024. Thus, it comes without surprise that more and more countries are investing greatly in “green power.”
In this article, we will present an overview of solar tracker types, applications, benefits to the challenges in the implementation of solar tracking systems.
Solar Tracking Systems Overview
Solar tracking systems are used to orient the photovoltaic panels towards the sun to harvest solar energy from photovoltaic cells. Solar panels need to remain perpendicular to the sun’s rays to receive energy to its full potential. For this reason, solar trackers are fundamental to maximizing energy production.
Solar tracking systems can be divided into several types, with the most mainstream one being active solar tracking systems. This type of solar trackers uses motors or hydraulic cylinders that can change the solar panels’ position through a series of sensors, actuators, microcontrollers, power drivers, and motors. Active solar tracking systems can be further divided into single-axis and double-axis solar tracking systems based on the directions of the sun’s movements they follow.
Multiple are the methods which can be used to track the sun’s movements and achieve maximum power generation. The two most typical options include +manual and passive changes of the panels’ orientation.
Benefits of Solar Tracking Systems
Solar energy is often wasted in power plants when solar panels do not face directly the sun. By keeping solar panels oriented directly towards the sun, solar trackers increase the amount of solar energy which is received and therefore produced. Besides improving the energy output of solar panels, solar trackers provide a whole other series of benefits, including but not limited to the following ones.
- More electricity
One of the biggest advantages of installing a solar tracking system comes in the form of improved energy output. Some estimates conclude that adding a solar tracker – in particular a horizontal single-axis tracker – to a solar grid could improve the solar panels’ productivity by 20-35%. The exact output increase rate depends on the location of the solar panels and other factors.
- Strong installation adaptability
Fixed-tilt panels are usually angled at the degree that gets the most direct sunlight all year. As the Earth is constantly moving around the sun, the exact optimal angle can vary at any moment depending on the time of day and time of year.
It could be possible to adjust manually the angle of fixed-tilt panels to address seasonal changes and improve their output. However, this would be hardly feasible if not for two to four times a year. Solar tracking systems help to automate this process. This way, solar panels can absorb the greatest amount of sunlight throughout the day, thus increasing the adaptability of the grid’s installation and operational use.
- Decrease in long-term maintenance costs
Self-powered solar trackers have relatively low maintenance costs. The advancement in technology has made solar systems trackers’ electronics and mechanisms more reliable. Because of this, operators can not only reduce long-term maintenance concerns.
Self-powered solar tracking solutions have additional requirements that need to be taken into consideration. Some of these include the generation of power with an ultra-high input range, high isolation, compliance with safety design standards, meeting operating temperature, altitude requirements, and input anti-reverse protection. Luckily, we at MORNSUN have a whole series of power supplies designed to fulfill all these requirements for higher
Solar tracking systems generate more electricity in roughly the same amount of space that is needed for fixed-tilt systems. For this reason, they are an ideal option for optimizing land usage, especially if the project’s available space has some restrictions.
Solar tracking systems help to minimize the amount of room that has to be devoted to a solar installation. This does not only result in a reduced size but also in lower maintenance costs (as also mentioned in one of the benefits above). Indeed, the smaller the size of the solar system, the cheaper it will be to operate it.
Major Challenges With Solar Tracking Systems
The solar tracker device’s major drawback is that it requires two types of voltage, 24V to power its DC motor and 5V for running the MCU or sensors. Thus, it is necessary to adopt a power conversion device that can convert a high voltage (hundred to thousands of Volts) into a stable 24V or 5V DC voltage to grant optimal operations.
There are two possible solutions to this challenge. However, both of them have their pros and cons.
The first option is to have the power from the main inlet and convert the voltage using an AC-DC SMPS. In this case, the issue becomes complex as many solar panels are in the plant, and all are placed far away from the inlet. Having multiple branches of the power cable and multiple SMPS for each panel is impractical and expensive to maintain.
The other solution is to use DC power that is being generated from the solar panels. This DC power could provide power to the solar tracking system. The challenge in this solution is the conversion of low voltage (24V, 5V). This process is also challenging due to the voltage differences and the subsequent drop inefficiency. Converting such low voltage from high input voltage requires complex switching devices and larger space to increase thermal performance.
MORNSUN has a proper solution for the solar conversion that does not require additional power supply lines, separate photovoltaic panels, or any additional supply effort.
MORNSUN has a range of gridline power converters from 5W to 350W that support 200VDC to 1500VDC input. Our solutions offer high isolation to withstand voltage and reverse protection to reduce damage due to incorrect wiring. Our self-powered solutions for solar trackers also offer a high input voltage range (200-1000V/1500V) and high withstand voltage capabilities for reinforced insulation. Ultimately, our power converters are a safe and certified solution with higher operating temperature and altitude for harsh environmental usage.
Our self-powered solutions for solar trackers will provide you with higher safety and optimized power generation. You will also benefit from reduced costs and a more streamlined process throughout the installation, operation, and maintenance stage of your self-powered solar tracking systems.
Contact us to learn more about our reliable power supply solutions, including our self-powered solutions for solar trackers.
For more information, please visit www.mornsun-power.com