Sensors 2012, 12(4), 4074-4090; doi:10.3390/s120404074

Equations for Solar Tracking

1 Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, Avenue Circulaire 3, 1180 Brussels, Belgium 2 Institute of Condensed Matter and Nanosciences, UCL, Chemin du Cyclotron 2, 1348 Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 February 2012; in revised form: 16 March 2012 / Accepted: 16 March 2012 / Published: 27 March 2012
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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Abstract: Direct sunlight absorption by trace gases can be used to quantify them and investigate atmospheric chemistry. In such experiments, the main optical apparatus is often a grating or a Fourier transform spectrometer. A solar tracker based on motorized rotating mirrors is commonly used to direct the light along the spectrometer axis, correcting for the apparent rotation of the Sun. Calculating the Sun azimuth and altitude for a given time and location can be achieved with high accuracy but different sources of angular offsets appear in practice when positioning the mirrors. A feedback on the motors, using a light position sensor close to the spectrometer, is almost always needed. This paper aims to gather the main geometrical formulas necessary for the use of a widely used kind of solar tracker, based on two 45° mirrors in altazimuthal set-up with a light sensor on the spectrometer, and to illustrate them with a tracker developed by our group for atmospheric research.
Keywords: solar tracker; Fourier transform infrared spectrometry; algorithms

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MDPI and ACS Style

Merlaud, A.; De Mazière, M.; Hermans, C.; Cornet, A. Equations for Solar Tracking. Sensors 2012, 12, 4074-4090.

AMA Style

Merlaud A, De Mazière M, Hermans C, Cornet A. Equations for Solar Tracking. Sensors. 2012; 12(4):4074-4090.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Merlaud, Alexis; De Mazière, Martine; Hermans, Christian; Cornet, Alain. 2012. "Equations for Solar Tracking." Sensors 12, no. 4: 4074-4090.

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