EME 812
Utility Solar Power and Concentration

Summary and Activities

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Summary and Activities

In Lesson 3, we discussed the benefits of sun tracking for performance of the solar energy conversion systems. It is clear that although tracking helps to collect more solar radiation per square unit of solar receiver, the tracking systems may be complex and costly, and hence should be used only when benefits in terms of efficiency outweigh the expenses for extra energy and equipment. We reviewed the fundamentals of solar motion, and you should now be comfortable using the key equations to calculate the sun position at any time at any location on the earth. This lesson included description of different modes of tracking - single-axis and two axis - and gave you an opportunity to perform some basic calculations and work with available data on solar path. I hope you found the resources in this lesson useful and that, in the future, you will feel confident applying those calculation methods to the systems of your choice. Tracking certainly is a worthy technology when we look at the utility scale solar systems, as this technology provides even more significant boost when scaled up. A number of companies are currently specialized in tracking technologies, constantly innovating and creating more and more robust systems for future solar plants.

The table below summarizes all activities that are due for this lesson. Some of those have been included in the body of the lesson, and this list simply repeats them for your reference.

Lesson 3 Assignments
Type Description/Instructions
Reading Complete all assigned reading for this lesson.
Discussion Discussion "Tracking systems": Lesson 3
  • Search Internet for commercially available tracking systems. If you are to choose such systems for your project (consider utility scale), which manufacturers / models would be your top 3 choices?
  • Express your opinion on the Discussion Forum.
  • Provide some technical justification to support your choice.
  • Comment on other posts and provide your advice as you see fit.
Written Assignment  Problem set on sun position and tracking
Please complete the Problem Set posted within this lesson (you can also download this probem set as a single document from Canvas module):
  • Problem 3-1: Sun path calculation
  • Problem 3-2: Two-axis tracker data
  • Problem 3-3: Single-axis tracker data

You can type your solutions or hand-write them and scan to a PDF file (just make sure that all is legible).

Submit your work to the respective dropbox in Lesson 3 Module.

References for Lesson 3

Barbose, G., Darghouth, N., Weaver, S., and Wiser, R., Tracking the Sun VI. An Historical Summary of the Installed Price of Photovoltaics in the United States from 1998 to 2012. US Department of Energy, July 2013.

Brownson, J.R.S., Solar Energy Conversion Systems, Elsevier, 2014.

Kaligirou, A, Solar Energy Engineering, Elsevier, 2014.

LINAK Group Inc., We Catch the Sun. 2015.

Rockwell Automation, Solar Tracking Application, White Paper. 2011.

UO SRML - University of Oregon, Sun Radiation Monitoring Laboratory, Sun Path Chart Program, 2007.

Wikipedia