Autonomous Solar Radiation Tracking System

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Participate and share : Poster

Fernando Alonso Villalobos  
Lucia Amerell  
Juan Carlos Tapia  
Pedro Alcázar  
Juan Pablo Méndez  
Sofía Basurto  

We present a prototype of a mechatronic system capable of monitoring with great efficiency the highest incidence of solar rays for devices that incorporate photovoltaic systems as a primary energy source. With this, we are making the most of solar energy, its reception and use during the day.

Audience: Coaches, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Participant accounts, software and other materials: 1. Solar Radiation tracker prototype
2. Solar cell (for demonstration)
3. Laptop
Topic: Maker activities & programs
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, Science
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
For Students:
Innovative Designer
  • Students know and use a deliberate design process for generating ideas, testing theories, creating innovative artifacts or solving authentic problems.
Computational Thinker
  • Students understand how automation works and use algorithmic thinking to develop a sequence of steps to create and test automated solutions.
Additional detail: Student presentation

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

1. Investigate the energy benefits that solar energy offers as a primary energy source.
2. That students recognize and understand the importance of clean energy as the main energy supply, leaving aside the generation of energy through fossil fuels.
3. Make the most of the natural resources that the island of Cozumel offers as a means of generating electricity.
4. Design a device capable of efficiently following the highest incidence of light during the day.
5. Take advantage of the greater capture of solar radiation to generate a greater volume of electrical energy.

Theoretical Perspective:
The generation of electrical energy from the sun's rays continues to increase. Photovoltaic capture systems are implemented more frequently and at different scales around the world.
Solar panels are the mainstay of this conversion system, where to obtain a greater solar incidence it is necessary to accommodate them at a certain angular position, between 18 and 30 degrees, as well as to rotate them continuously.
Technological progress in this area in our country is zero, there are various brands and dimensions of photovoltaic systems, but there is no system that guides the cell arrangement where the greatest amount of sunlight falls.

Research Methods:
We are working on the implementation of a mechatronic system capable of tracking and locating the highest incidence of solar radiation during the day, making the most of energy capture for residential photovoltaic systems.
The system consists of a series of photosensitive sensors, located angularly on a circular base, which monitor the amount of solar rays that affect them, comparing the information through a micro controller that chooses which sensor receives the highest energy incidence, positioning the system in said angular direction thanks to a high precision motor that maintains said position until the micro controller detects another position with greater solar incidence.

Expected Results:
The development of the project is in its experimental stage, the students are working on the implementation of the prototype, this considering the factors analyzed for the solar incidence in Cozumel.
In the first instance, a scale prototype capable of following and acceptably positioning the sensors will be built in the orientation where there is better solar reception; causing a greater energy capture that translates into a higher voltage positioning the solar cells in the correct orientation.
We are to build an autonomous system with sufficient capacity to efficiently position an array of photovoltaic cells, allowing the capture of a greater volume of electrical energy which, in turn, represents a lower consumption of electrical energy that is supplied to homes on a regular basis, reducing said spending.

Educational Relevance:
As a vanguard Educational Institution we seek to encourage our students to create new areas of opportunity in future industrial trends, that is why the real implementation of sustainable technological projects make them acquire valuable experiences that nurture their comprehensive training.
We also want our student to understand and analyze the high rate of solar rays and natural factors that help and promote the use of this natural resource. The project, per se, will allow a better collection of energy, which in turn will benefit the community.

Supporting research

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Fernando Alonso Villalobos, Instituto Cumbres Cozumel
Lucia Amerell, Instituto Cumbres Cozumel
Juan Carlos Tapia, Instituto Cumbres Cozumel
Pedro Alcázar, Instituto Cumbres Cozumel
Juan Pablo Méndez, Instituto Cumbres Cozumel
Sofía Basurto, Instituto Cumbres Cozumel

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