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Sensors 2017, 17(8), 1742;

A Solar Position Sensor Based on Image Vision

Facultad de Ingeniería, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Blvd. Benito Juárez S/N, Mexicali 21280, Mexico
Instituto de Ingeniería, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Calle de la Normal S/N, Mexicali 21280, Mexico
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 June 2017 / Revised: 23 July 2017 / Accepted: 26 July 2017 / Published: 29 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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Solar collector technologies operate with better performance when the Sun beam direction is normal to the capturing surface, and for that to happen despite the relative movement of the Sun, solar tracking systems are used, therefore, there are rules and standards that need minimum accuracy for these tracking systems to be used in solar collectors’ evaluation. Obtaining accuracy is not an easy job, hence in this document the design, construction and characterization of a sensor based on a visual system that finds the relative azimuth error and height of the solar surface of interest, is presented. With these characteristics, the sensor can be used as a reference in control systems and their evaluation. The proposed sensor is based on a microcontroller with a real-time clock, inertial measurement sensors, geolocation and a vision sensor, that obtains the angle of incidence from the sunrays’ direction as well as the tilt and sensor position. The sensor’s characterization proved how a measurement of a focus error or a Sun position can be made, with an accuracy of 0.0426° and an uncertainty of 0.986%, which can be modified to reach an accuracy under 0.01°. The validation of this sensor was determined showing the focus error on one of the best commercial solar tracking systems, a Kipp & Zonen SOLYS 2. To conclude, the solar tracking sensor based on a vision system meets the Sun detection requirements and components that meet the accuracy conditions to be used in solar tracking systems and their evaluation or, as a tracking and orientation tool, on photovoltaic installations and solar collectors. View Full-Text
Keywords: tracking; vision; solar position tracking; vision; solar position

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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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Ruelas, A.; Velázquez, N.; Villa-Angulo, C.; Acuña, A.; Rosales, P.; Suastegui, J. A Solar Position Sensor Based on Image Vision. Sensors 2017, 17, 1742.

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