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Author Topic: PV Panels For Solar Trackers, please.  (Read 12829 times)
clockmanFR
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« on: February 18, 2012, 11:00:35 AM »

Solar Trackers.

I am just about to start manufacturing Solar trackers.

I am UK based but my main workshops are in France. The design is for 1.5Kw and is simple, strong but lightweight and uses minimal materials. Drive circuit is sorted and the actuator arms are tested. I have also designed in a 6 position declination angle adjustment.

I spent yesterday at the local steel stockholders going through what is readily obtainable and cheap in the way of box sections and main support tubes.

I will put the progress and designs on to this Forum as we progress.

Now all I need is 3kw worth of Solar panels. About 185kw per panel would be ideal as long as each tracker ends up with say 8 panels or an even count if they are bigger wattage, yes I could put an odd one on and balance it, but it just means extra steel support work that I would rather avoid.

Panels DO NOT need to be MCS approved or FIT approved, as this lot will connect up to my Wind Turbine 48v battery system through a 60a MPPT Morningstar controller for a full year testing.

I have 3 contacts so far regards panels under 1 per watt and MCS approved but I am awaiting responces. I will be in UK next weekend and Monday 27th Feb and can collect and pay Cash.

So if you have or know of any PV that would suit me, we would appreciate your help. I can take photos and later publish if you so wish, when I collect and pay.  

Thankyou.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 11:54:19 AM by clockmanFR » Logged

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billi
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2012, 11:09:01 AM »

Ivan  has  some (seconds )i think closer to 60 pence per watt  arround 180 watt


Billi
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1.6 kw and 2.4 kw   PV array  , Outback MX 60 and FM80 charge controller  ,24 volt 1600 AH Battery ,6 Kw Victron inverter charger, 1.1 kw high head hydro turbine as a back up generator , 5 kw woodburner, 36 solar tubes with 360 l water tank, 1.6 kw  windturbine
clockmanFR
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2012, 11:20:12 AM »

I have mailed him, but he was not sure last time we spoke that he would have any left, "first come first serve basis" and as her indoors has let me loose next weekend, so i need to get some from somewhere.

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stephendv
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2012, 01:12:49 PM »

Interesting project.  The stumbling block for trackers, especially for off-grid, is the cost when compared with cheaper static panels.  Do you have an estimate of how much your trackers would cost for the version that holds 1.5kW of panels?
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clockmanFR
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2012, 03:36:40 PM »

stephendv,
 I am a wind turbine man and therefore got to put something up in the air that moves.  Grin
Interestingly each 3.7m Turbine is costing me 1000 in raw materials per 1kw of  producing output, so Solar Trackers has recently  become a cost effective solution for me.  Shh, I do not think that 'Hugh Piggott' is talking to me now.
 At present its just the cost of the raw materials as I will do all the work here.

 I will cost in the labour at a later date, ie, i will ask a fabrication firm to give me costings on cutting, and welding of the main support frame to my designs.

I have divided the construction into 3 main sections.
 
 The Foundation and support, the main single 3.5m high 140mm dia 4mm wall support column and single top see saw joint. And declination straps bolted to the support frame and the other strap welded to the main support column. With the first 3.3m long large upright  steel section with 3 see saw joints operating horizontally.

The main frame with the second 3.3m long large upright steel section with 3 see saw joints and welded/attached the 4 horizontal sections and welded to them the 4 vertical upright sections that the PV panels will bolt onto.

Electrics and drive actuators. Here I am using 24v types that are gate openers and the new tracker circuit that takes notice of the Sun.

Panel weight will be about 160kg, and I expect the weight of the operating main frame to be no more than 120kg, but this depends on the PV panel dimensions and therefore what the PV panel frames can withstand themselves, and to do that I need to actually see the Panels and work out support loadings.

I have kept this to a 1.5kw design, no bigger at this stage, as its possible to get the materials really down to a minimum support yet safe weight.

The whole trick off course is to have the whole thing perfectly balanced, so the actuator arm is not being loaded, (except when its blowing a bit and we have snow). Wind is a problem and with 3.2m by approx 6m up in the air I will need to check loadings, but I may go down the route of 'biff' and in heavy winds have a Park option with clip bracing from the foundation block.

Here's a pic of my overall design, there are many more, but this drawing shows the basic principal.



* P2180082c.JPG (115.37 KB, 522x392 - viewed 703 times.)
« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 03:45:05 PM by clockmanFR » Logged

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clockmanFR
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2012, 06:56:17 PM »

stephendv, this might interest you.

 Tracker Efficiency over static fixed Panels.

Link from Hugh Piggot's site, 

http://www.generator-eolian.ro/tracker.php
"Our team made a comparative test, whose main monitored parameter was the energy efficiency of two identical panels, one in a fixed position and the other following the sun with the help of a solar tracker.

Testing conditions:
- individual panel power: 200W
- individual panel voltage: 12V
- time of the year: the month of July
- hourly time span: 6AM - 8PM (total 14h)
- weather: generally sunny
- location latitude: 4572'

Results:
- approximate energy delivered by the fixed panel: 826Wh
- approximate energy delivered by the controlled panel: 1344Wh
- energy consumption of the tracking system (actuator engine + solar tracker controller): 5,80Wh, which is approximately 0,43% of the total energy gain

The net energy gain derived from using the solar tracker amounted to some 500Wh, which is significant. Sun tracking gain is most obvious during the cold season, when daylight is shorter."


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billi
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« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2012, 07:14:09 PM »

One can play  here and compare

http://re.jrc.ec.europa.eu/pvgis/apps4/pvest.php


Sure in summer the tracker is far ahead ,but the rest of the year.......



« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 07:16:39 PM by billi » Logged

1.6 kw and 2.4 kw   PV array  , Outback MX 60 and FM80 charge controller  ,24 volt 1600 AH Battery ,6 Kw Victron inverter charger, 1.1 kw high head hydro turbine as a back up generator , 5 kw woodburner, 36 solar tubes with 360 l water tank, 1.6 kw  windturbine
stannn
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« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2012, 07:55:38 PM »

Clockman
We need sections, if you want comments!
Stan
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« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2012, 08:28:22 PM »

- time of the year: the month of July

Billi said it, winter is a different story.  Smiley  Using the pvgis link for a 1kW array in December here in Spain:
- 2 axis tracker: 127 kWh
- static: 102 kWh

...so a 24% gain - which means it should only cost 24% more to be economically feasible.  If PV goes for 1 GBP/Watt and you're planning a 1.5kW tracker then it would need to come in at 360 GBP + (24% of the cost of the static mounting structure).  It's going to be tight!

EDIT: The formula should be: 360GBP + 24% of static mounting + the joy of seeing the thing moving and tracking the sun
« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 08:35:02 PM by stephendv » Logged

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desperate
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« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2012, 09:54:11 PM »

Yo Clockman,

Am I correct in assuming you need to drive both your altitude and azimuth axes to track the sun?

Forgive me if your design is all finalised, but how about if the mount were built like an English Equatorial

A single axle tilted to suit the latitude and supported at both ends, the height of the south pillar could be adjusted a few times trough the year, but you would only need one driven axle without the need for a tracker system.The axle being supported at both ends would entail a bit more foundation work but would be a lot more rigid and wind proof.

This type of mount is by far the easiest way of driving and supporting hefty telescopes as I am sure you are aware.
Does that make sense?

Desp
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clockmanFR
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« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2012, 10:45:03 PM »

stann, Until i get those panels its not possible to get to specific with sectional drawings.

Remember i am trying to get the structure as light as possible, but i need to know what the panel number will be if 6 rather than 8 and what is the structure of the panel frame and SWL on the panels overhangs.

I am happy with the design on the joints and see saw hinges, these are simple and yet robust, Wind Turbine tech.

So until i get the panels i can not even work out the main frame steel box structure or the steel specs from what i can readily obtain from the stockholders.

However, as soon as possible i will post further info on these test structures.

What oh Desperate,
Sense it certainly does, but the foundation slab might have to double in size, and theres more material that would be required and more rotational problems when the turning circle/radius increases, and the probability of the sheep getting mixed in.  Roll Eyes
The Armillary Sundial No2, I designed and manufactured see pic, shows yet another way. However the absolute rigidity required by a telescope is not that parmount with a tracker, well not for me anyway.

Agreed, an axle supported at both ends would be more rigid than my present design of just the central 3 pivots with this axle supported by a single simple large pivot, so i have designed a cheek supported pivot. The present arrangement does give easy use for the declination alteration depending on the time of year, like the sundial in the pic. (Eagle eyes among you will see that the owner seems to have this set for about one to two weeks after the Autumn equinox when this photo was taken).   


* DSCN1015a.JPG (100.93 KB, 583x778 - viewed 608 times.)
« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 11:09:58 PM by clockmanFR » Logged

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supremetwo
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« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2012, 01:11:39 AM »

So until i get the panels i can not even work out the main frame steel box structure or the steel specs from what i can readily obtain from the stockholders.

You can get the dimensions and weights of actual panels from the design date of their manufacturer so why do you need the actual panels?

You also need to know the most-common panel sizes, such as those listed as 'main product:-
http://www.philadelphia-solar.com/modules.aspx.
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« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2012, 09:04:46 AM »

Yo Clockman,
                IMpressive plan.I have not given up on my tracker plan quite yet but the present array gives out an amazing amount of power just stationary.Yet i have my heart set on this tracker idea that i have.
     For some reason my scaffolding looks raw and unfinished and i guess even with the mobile tracking gear,(wheels,hiab) it is still going to look a bit grim to say the least.I guess if i covered in the back of it,it would look a tad more respectable.
                                                                                             Biff
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billi
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« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2012, 09:32:35 AM »

sounds  like fun as well 
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clockmanFR
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« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2012, 06:56:38 PM »

supremetwo, Because i do not know what panels i am getting, as i am looking at best price per Kw, at present I have been offered panels at a commercial rate of 0.73p per watt all in. But just had another offer that i can not refuse.
So until i have the panels in my sweaty hands, its not possible to get exact.

biff, thanks for your words of encouragement, and off course i wish your plans every success. Me, everything outside gets Hammerite black, blue or even white just depends whats on offer.

billi, yep, fun is what life is all about.
The only sticking point is that i will have to put my scaffolding up on 4 sides, because the top pivot is 3.5m above the ground and the frame will need to be level while I affix the panels etc. I have 60 odd half scaffold poles, (full used to be 6.4m) but at 3.2 max then i can just do a top lift and slide the tracker frame into position.  
« Last Edit: February 19, 2012, 07:15:05 PM by clockmanFR » Logged

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