The project focuses on solving the problem of dust settling, stability issues of solar tracking unit and overtime decrease in efficiency of solar panels. The project is based on fabricating an automated system which can clean and track the solar panels automatically and efficiently. It works on reducing the losses caused by tracking and cleaning which could be adjusted to be fully automated as well as manually controlled as per the requirements. The major common problems in normal solar cleaning and tracking projects is the use of sensors which get affected due to adverse conditions and settling of dust due to which the mechanism provides incorrect readings. Hence these problems are solved in our project which focuses on cleaning of panels and eliminating the use of sensors like proximity sensors, etc. The project designed can be used in solar power plants and industries where timely cleaning and maintenance of Solar Panels is a necessity
With the rise in use of Solar Panels in industries for power generation there is a rise demand for the solution of the problems faced by power generation. Some these problems involve the reduction of over time power generation due to settling of dust in solar panel and effective mode to track the position of sun due to the inaccuracies in the use of sensors in extreme weather conditions. Our project focuses exactly solving these problems.
The effective way devised for solving these problems in the project was to completely eliminate or reduce the use of sensors due to their inaccuracies in extreme weather conditions. The project focuses on the use time for the application of tracking and cleaning purpose. There two mechanisms used in the project one is for the purpose of tracking the position of the sun and the other is for the purpose of cleaning of solar panel.
The Tracking Mechanism consist of simple design in which motor is to wind and unwind the string based on the code functions which are given on a timely basis. The motor rotates a specific in speed such as to cover the total time of 12hr or till the time the sun is clearly visible in the sky. The Cleaning Mechanism is designed to clean solar panels by moving left to right along the length of the solar panel surface. The Cleaning consists of motorized wheels which is drive the mechanism. The mechanism also consists of motorized brush and a fixed water supply provided by the perforated pipes and pump which is used to remove the dust settled on the solar panels.
B. Methods used in Tracking and Cleaning Mechanism
For Tracking the basic requirement is that the solar panel must be able track the position of the till the time sun’s solar energy can be used for generating power. Hence the solar tracking model is coded to track the position of the sun for 12hr. Here the rpm of the motor is controlled by controlling the PWM signal of the DC Motor to obtain the required RPM. The algorithm for the process of tracking is mentioned below:
System is ON (at t=0).
Rotate the motor on a set RPM.
Change Direction (at t=12hrs).
Stop the system when reaches the initial start position.
For Cleaning Mechanism, the basic requirement is the mechanism should be able to clean the solar based on the number of times the mechanism passes over the solar panel surface. The algorithm for this process of cleaning is mentioned below:
a]. System is ON.
b]. Rotate the motor on a set RPM, turn on the water supply, rotate the brush.
c]. Change Direction when Limit Switch is triggered.
d]. Repeat till the number times the set to pass through the surface of the panels.
e]. Stop the system when reaches the mechanism triggers the limit switch.
C. Real life model.
III. CALCULATIONS USED IN THE FABRICATION PROCESS OF THE MECHANISMS
A. Calculations for Tracking Mechanism
The major components used in the tracking mechanism is the motor, bearing, shaft, rope and the frame. The motor selection process involves two steps: 1. Finding the torque required based on the requirement. 2. Finding the rpm required based on the requirement.
The bearing, shaft, rope and frame can thus be designed based on the input parameters of motor and the required output necessary
B. Suitable RPM Selection for Motor
Rotating angle of solar panel with respect to time and RPM calculation:
There are 12 hours between sunrise and sunset
The solar panels can rotate almost 180° .
But for the simplicity of code and application the angle for rotation is 90° from the centre Axis rod
∴ The angle per minute is given by,
F. Calculations for Cleaning Mechanism
The major components used in the cleaning mechanism is the motor, bearing, shaft, rope and the frame. The motor selection process involves two steps: 1. Finding the torque required based on the requirement. 2. Finding the rpm required based on the requirement. The frame can thus be designed based on the input parameters of motor and the required output necessary.
G. Motor Selection Torque and rpm
???????H. RPM Required
The Speed of the motor should such that it cleans the solar panels efficiently. Hence a speed of 40-60 rpm is sufficient for the operation
Therefore, the motor selected based on availability is DC motor with 6-8 kgf-cm and 60 rpm (but can be controlled as per the requirement).
IV. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The Tracking mechanism is 85-90% accurate in tracking the position sun using time-based model. The efficiency of Solar Panel increased up to 80% with the help of tracking mechanisms.
The Cleaning mechanisms is able to clean the dust settled on Solar Panel. The cleaning mechanisms increases the overtime efficiency up to 85%.
The addition results of the Automatic System for Cleaning and Tracking Mechanism are mentioned below:
Less weight as compared to the available models in the industry
Solving Stability and inaccuracies issues of Tracking Models
Increasing Panel Efficiency by Cleaning of Panels
Increasing Product Life & Durability of Solar Panels
Maintain constant output during Peak hours
We want to offer our heartfelt thanks to Professor Sudhakar Ambhore, Professor Cleta Pereira and Professor Mahesh Rajwade for their patient assistance, passionate encouragement, and useful feedback on our effort. We'd also like to extend our thanks to Professor Deepak Pandav and Professor Sushil Joshi for their advice and guidance for the selection and use of electronic components. We are also grateful to Mr. Ramesh Pothraj and Mr. Binoj Sreedharan for their assistance in the fabrication process of the project. Finally, we would like to thank Harsh's parents for their constant support and encouragement throughout our fabrication process and allowing us to use their space at home.
This aims at solving the problem of manual cleaning of solar panels by substituting it with an automatic mechanism. It also has the fully functional solar tracking model that was coded to track the position of the sun and optimizing the maximum solar energy production every time by making it on timely basis by eliminating any dependence on sensors. With the stability-related issues of the solar tracking units solved, Power wastage was reduced in tracking and cleaning could be adjusted to be fully automated as well as manually automated as per the requirements. The problem of dust settling, and overtime decrease in efficiency of solar panels is resolved by automating the cleaning and tracking process of the solar panels. This helps to deal with solar energy, utilize it in the most efficient way possible, gain in-depth knowledge about renewable sources available and their usage. This also equipped us with skills pertaining to sustainability and development of solar energy as a renewable source and the ways to deal with energy production issues that arise frequently, along with eliminating any dependance on the need for fossil fuels.
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