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Sensors 2016, 16(12), 1995; doi:10.3390/s16121995

Design of a Solar Tracking System Using the Brightest Region in the Sky Image Sensor

Department of Information and Communication Engineering, Chaoyang University of Technology, Taichung 41349, Taiwan
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vittorio M. N. Passaro
Received: 12 October 2016 / Revised: 18 November 2016 / Accepted: 18 November 2016 / Published: 25 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [6097 KB, uploaded 25 November 2016]   |  

Abstract

Solar energy is certainly an energy source worth exploring and utilizing because of the environmental protection it offers. However, the conversion efficiency of solar energy is still low. If the photovoltaic panel perpendicularly tracks the sun, the solar energy conversion efficiency will be improved. In this article, we propose an innovative method to track the sun using an image sensor. In our method, it is logical to assume the points of the brightest region in the sky image representing the location of the sun. Then, the center of the brightest region is assumed to be the solar-center, and is mathematically calculated using an embedded processor (Raspberry Pi). Finally, the location information on the sun center is sent to the embedded processor to control two servo motors that are capable of moving both horizontally and vertically to track the sun. In comparison with the existing sun tracking methods using image sensors, such as the Hough transform method, our method based on the brightest region in the sky image remains accurate under conditions such as a sunny day and building shelter. The practical sun tracking system using our method was implemented and tested. The results reveal that the system successfully captured the real sun center in most weather conditions, and the servo motor system was able to direct the photovoltaic panel perpendicularly to the sun center. In addition, our system can be easily and practically integrated, and can operate in real-time. View Full-Text
Keywords: solar tracking system; image sensor; brightest points; embedded processor; servo motor solar tracking system; image sensor; brightest points; embedded processor; servo motor
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Wei, C.-C.; Song, Y.-C.; Chang, C.-C.; Lin, C.-B. Design of a Solar Tracking System Using the Brightest Region in the Sky Image Sensor. Sensors 2016, 16, 1995.

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