Solar Tracker Panels – How to simulate a Sun tracker in order to optimize solar panels orientation
Optimize the position of a rectangular solar panel in order to follow the Sun’s path during the day.
Publisher: T³ Europe
Author: Alexandre Técher
This activity is fully STEM compatible, in fact STEM is at the heart of the activity.
It’s about finding a way to optimize the position of a rectangular solar panel in order to follow the Sun’s path during the day, assuming the panel is supported on the ground.
The fact that photovoltaic cells can produce electricity from light, suggests measuring the light level and since this light is provided by the Sun, one has to know about Sun’s path in relation to the Earth: welcome to Science room!
A planet’s orbit can be defined by a time function and the light level can be defined by a distance function to the source. To locate the Sun in the sky during the day, we realise that angles are very convenient: welcome to Mathematics room!
To make a solar panel rotate, a servomotor can be useful and to measure the light level, a brightness sensor is needed. Now it’s time to make these two elements communicate with a suitable coding language: welcome to the twin rooms, Engineering and Technology!
Now we need to assemble these rooms to build a house for hosting solutions to the problem.