» Projects » Control System for Photovoltaic Panels (Microcontroller)
 

Control System for Photovoltaic Panels (Microcontroller)

Project developed during the years 2009/2010.

A company that works in the renewable energy industry, more precisely in mini and micro generation, sought to obtain a system capable of controlling the position of photovoltaic panels mounted on appropriate structures and like that they would be able to remain sun-oriented.

The key factor for this choice was the energy production gains obtained when compared to their stationary counterparts.

Challenge

The key requirements specifically pointed by our client were the following: the systems had to be self-powered and they also had to be able to control two systems at the same time, moving in a daily and annual cycle.
Solution

After the state of the art assessment and a more detailed analysis of the requirements made together with the client, EGITRON identified the main goal that had to be reached: a microcontroller-based embedded system with astronomical logic and with a high level of flexibility reached through the initial operating parameters setup.
The developed controller is powered by a rechargeable lead acid battery having also an electric interface for:
  • Two linear actuators that when coupled to the mechanical structures are going to induce their movement in order to maintain the panels sun-oriented;
  • A photovoltaic panel to charge the battery as well as to serve as a reference to the microcontroller to calculate the daily time of sun exposure;
  • Communication with a PC for the initial configuration and diagnostics, and for the embedded software update, leaving the door open for future developments;
  • Wind speed sensor for the detection of configurable limits in the 2-axis version.

Each controller is supplied in a box suitable for outdoors inside which are placed the control board itself and the battery.

A simple interface software for PC was also supplied. User friendly and intuitive, it allows the configurations described before.

Application

Even though the created product is completely specific to the described situation and isn't adaptable outside its use range, the project as a whole demonstrates once more EGITRON's ability to design and built embedded microcontroller-based systems, while carrying out a requirements analysis together with the client to provide them with their intended personalised solution.

EGITRON has many examples of this type of applications, even in its own devices and systems, with different levels of integration: hardware solutions designed and built completely from scratch, like the application described, as well as solutions that integrate modular systems programed by EGITRON for a specific purpose.

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