Low Cost Solar Power System with Open Loop Tracking for Rural and Developing Areas
Keywords:Solar energy, Solar tracking, Developing Rural Areas, micro controlling, and internet of thing (IoT)
Solar energy continues to enjoy interest and is becoming one of the important elements in the world's future energy consumption and economic growth. One way to increase the use of solar power systems, particularly in rural and developing areas, is through the employment of low cost, power efficient systems. This paper presents a possible low cost solution where an open loop tracking system is implemented with a small size 50 Watt (W) Monocrystalline Photovoltaic (PV) panel. The system’s performance is monitored at different tropical weather conditions. In addition, the output power is measured and compared between a static solar panel and one that includes the proposed tracking system. The measurements over the course of 6 months in Pathum Thani, north of Bangkok (Thailand), showed that the output energy with tracking system, on average, is 18 % higher than with static panel (45 Watt hour (Wh) compared to 36.5 Wh). The overall generated energy in 7 hours in a day are 315 Watt hour per day (Wh/day) and 255 Wh/day for tracking and static panel respectively. On rainy days, the average measured output power is reduced to 25% of that on the sunny days. The experimental results have been compared to those of a deduced first order simulation output and this over a period of five months. The experiment shows similarity in the trend between experimental and simulation results. Finally, multiple sensors were added to the solar unit, and measured environmental data sent obtained by these sensors were over a low bandwidth communication link, and recorded/processed on a remote server.
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