The QBotix Tracking System uses a monorail system of robots to tilt solar panels toward the sun as it moves throughout the day, replacing tracking systems that are complex and expensive to install and maintain. (Source: QBotix)
Looks like a pretty compelling use case, particularly for large-scale, commercial implementations where there are hundreds of solar panels. Not sure the cost incurred with a robotic-based system can hold up to smaller or even residential installations, though.
I would think this would be most cost effective on newly installed systems. I would be interested to know how this would work retrofitting existing installations. A 15% increase in output of panels would add a substantial amount of power to even residential systems. To reduce the number of panels needed by 15% may make, even residential systems, more viable. I would be concerned with the security of this system in adverse weather conditions, like how much wind could this system handle?
I would be interested in seeing a comparison of the costs of a robotic system vs. the cost of individual panels. Since regardless of the type of installation you implement, you still need space, I'm wondering if as the panels become a commodity it would be cheaper to jsut add additional panels rather than trying to relocate them over a robotic track?
I think the point here is to not have motors on each pan/tilt axis of the panels. You drive the robot to the panel and make the adjustment, so there are no motors on the panels. This reduces the number of motors and drives in the system to no more than 3 - one to move the robot from panel to panel, and two to adjust the pan/tilt axes. A clever mechical design could probably get it done with a single motor and some clutches.
The robot moves the motors to the solar panels, makes the adjustment(s) on that panel, moves to the next panel, makes the adjustments, etc. That is why it takes 40 minutes to do the adjustments on a 300kw installation - it is a round-robin affair. It can only get to each panel so often.
Thanks, ttemple. I was unsure why this was better than existing tracking systems until I read your explanation. I'd really like to see a comparison, in terms of power consumed and cost, of this system versus conventional tracking.
PROCAD, a leader in 3D and 2D piping design software, released its newest product PapriCAD 3D. Built on a scalable data-centric platform, PapriCAD® 3D offers a comprehensive solution that delivers 3D modeling, component design, material reports plus AutoCAD. Quickly transform ideas into data rich 3D piping installations with minimal training, accelerated productivity and lowered costs.http://bit.ly/NmdQGu
Elizabeth, I had seen a similar system in a solar farm. Al the panel structure is attached to a small motor, which will rotate the entire panel structure in synchronize with the position of sun. This will help to fall the sun rays directly over the panel and hence a better efficiency.
Ttemple, instead of doing the rotation to individual panel, I would like to suggest another method. Fix all the solar panel in a single structure and by using a powerful motor they can rotate the entire structure in a single move. The power for motor rotation can be generated from solar panel itself.
This picture may not represent the article well. Look at where the shadows are vs. the direction of the panels. I am all for Solar but there are too many magical mirrors and fuzzy government math claims to convince me it is even close to being economical. Why doesn't someone print the actual facts and figures?
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.