Title

The Effect of a Pneumatic Cylinder-Based Solar Tracking System on the Electricity Production of a Photovoltaic Panel

School Name

Spring Valley High School

Grade Level

10th Grade

Presentation Topic

Engineering

Presentation Type

Non-Mentored

Abstract

With global warming increasing exponentially, renewable energy sources have never been more important. Solar energy has held a promising future, however, the low efficiency of solar cells has limited popularity. Implementing a solar tracking system is one way to optimize electricity production. The ideal solar tracker is not yet marketed because of the lack of reliability or inefficient energy production. The purpose of this paper was to construct an electricity-free solar tracking system that produces an increase in average voltage levels over a fixed solar panel. It was hypothesized that when an efficient solar tracking system was created, the average voltage production of the solar panel would increase when compared to a fixed solar panel because the tracker would keep the panel perpendicular to the sun at all times. The final solar tracker design implemented a pneumatic cylinder and microcontroller to create a single-axis chronological tracker. The tracker was tested with a light moved around the panel. The results of the solar tracker indicated an average 31% increase in voltage levels when compared to a fixed panel, which is consistent with other dual-axis solar trackers. Data were statistically analyzed with an unpaired z-test using a 95% confidence interval. The mean increase in voltage was determined statistically significant, as the p-value of 0.0072 was less than the α-value of 0.05. Therefore, it was found that the proposed pneumatic cylinder solar tracker is a viable, electricity-free alternative to conventional solar tracking systems.

Location

HSS 109

Start Date

4-2-2022 9:30 AM

Presentation Format

Oral and Written

Group Project

No

COinS
 
Apr 2nd, 9:30 AM

The Effect of a Pneumatic Cylinder-Based Solar Tracking System on the Electricity Production of a Photovoltaic Panel

HSS 109

With global warming increasing exponentially, renewable energy sources have never been more important. Solar energy has held a promising future, however, the low efficiency of solar cells has limited popularity. Implementing a solar tracking system is one way to optimize electricity production. The ideal solar tracker is not yet marketed because of the lack of reliability or inefficient energy production. The purpose of this paper was to construct an electricity-free solar tracking system that produces an increase in average voltage levels over a fixed solar panel. It was hypothesized that when an efficient solar tracking system was created, the average voltage production of the solar panel would increase when compared to a fixed solar panel because the tracker would keep the panel perpendicular to the sun at all times. The final solar tracker design implemented a pneumatic cylinder and microcontroller to create a single-axis chronological tracker. The tracker was tested with a light moved around the panel. The results of the solar tracker indicated an average 31% increase in voltage levels when compared to a fixed panel, which is consistent with other dual-axis solar trackers. Data were statistically analyzed with an unpaired z-test using a 95% confidence interval. The mean increase in voltage was determined statistically significant, as the p-value of 0.0072 was less than the α-value of 0.05. Therefore, it was found that the proposed pneumatic cylinder solar tracker is a viable, electricity-free alternative to conventional solar tracking systems.