Solar energy is known as the most reliable energy source and most of the companies are investing on this industry. Can you believe that fluid power has a dominant role in solar industry also? But, there are several applications. One such application is sun tracking solar panels and more interesting facts are discussed in this blog.
Let’s begin from basics. I.e; what is sun tracking solar panels?. The most important component required for producing solar energy is a solar panel that consist of solar cells. The size of the panel and the aligned position can decide how much electrical energy the system produce. Usually, most solar panels are permanently fixed towards a position that receive more sunlight. But, what if the solar panel has a movable structure? Yes, it will be possible to generate more energy, approximately 40% more than that from the fixed solar panel structure. This type of systems that move the solar panel by tracking the position of sun is called sun tracking solar panels. Floating solar panels also utilize fluid power to maximize the energy production. Solar tracking systems have many benefits and it includes maximum efficiency, increased energy output, maximize power per unit area, and more.
The sun tracking solar panels can be categorized into three. They are manual solar trackers, passive solar trackers, and active solar trackers. Manual solar trackers requires a technician to manually adjust the panels. Whereas, passive solar trackers utilize liquids with low boiling point for this operation. Here the tilting occurs due to the system imbalance caused by the evaporation of liquid, when exposed to solar radiations. The next type, which is active solar tracker is the most advanced type that relies on motors or hydraulic cylinders and it uses light sensors to track the sun. Active solar trackers are of two types; single axis solar trackers and dual axis solar trackers. Depending on the position of sun, the single axis solar trackers move from east to west. Single axis trackers are available with horizontal and vertical axles. Whereas, dual axis solar trackers tracks the sun as it moves from east to west and in north to south direction also.
Next we can consider the design of fluid power solar tracking system. The system includes gas/oil tanks, accumulators, parabolic concentrators made of galvanized steel sheets, directional control valves, hydraulic system and hydraulic piston. The system contains two oil tanks positioned axially at the focal central axis of parabolic concentrators at both ends. 90% of the tank contains Nitrogen gas and 10% contains hydraulic fluid. Nitrogen gas is selected because of its good safety and expansion factor. The pressurized oil from the tank is supplied towards the hydraulic system used for tracking piston for configuring the panel according to sun movement.
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