According to reports, it’s like a sunflower that follows the sun as it moves around the sky each day. Researchers at Sardar Patel University (SPU) have designed, developed and implemented an automated dual axis solar tracker system, which works on sunflower motion for a solar power plant.
And the country’s first indigenously designed solar tracker system also increases solar energy harnessing power of a solar power plant by 45 per cent.
Interestingly, this indigenously developed solar power plant with the dual axial auto tracking system has been installed at the terrace of SPU’s Department of Physics where it generates up to 1.5 kilowatt per hour (KWh) of electrical power through 20 multi-crystalline solar panels of 75 watt generation capacity each.
“India is blessed with ample solar radiation as most parts of the country receive 300 to 330 sunny days a year. Our tracker system has been designed to provide rotation angles as per the rotation path of sun for the entire year for various regions of the country,” says Shreelal Jha, director (technical) of the self-financed R&D and consultancy centre for impaired (SFRCI) who along with Dr Jayesh Gandhi, director (operations) of SFRCI developed this system.
The system has been designed in such a way that the batteries connected in the circuit stores excess power that can be utilized during the non-solar conditions like early mornings, late evenings or at nights.
“This stored power is also helpful in monsoon when solar radiation is uneven or unavailable. We have designed a unique auto grid changeover device in the system, which takes care of uninterrupted power of 230 volt alternating current (AC) load,” says Jha, adding that the device has a special feature whereby the tracker starts automatically at 5:45 am and shuts down automatically at 6:45 pm.
“This system has been designed on sensor-based technology avoiding the need for manual programming. It is capable for 3,400 horizontal rotations and 700 vertical rotation movements. Also, the entire structure has been designed to survive wind speed of 60 metre per second during cyclonic conditions.
With special funds sanctioned by SPU vice-chancellor Dr Harish Pad and SFRCI chairman Dr A R Jani, this solar power plant presently powers the head of department’s office, the administrative office and the laboratory of physics department.