Beckhoff Automation's TwinCAT
Solar Position Algorithm library
permits the exact calculation of sun
angles anywhere in the world at any time, without the use of sensors.
This TwinCAT solution is ideal for parabolic
mirror and photovoltaic systems as well as for other solar power plant designs
that automatically track the sun's position for optimum utilization of the
sun's rays. The control algorithm, which calculates the zenith and azimuth
angles of the sun with a precision of ±0.001 degree, can also be used for other
applications such as in building automation or with wind turbines for shadow
The TwinCAT Solar Position
Algorithm software library enables high-precision determination of sun angles
and the times for sunrise, solar noon and sunset year-round. The calculation of
sun angles with the TwinCAT library requires the specification of the date,
time and exact longitude and latitude of the location (e.g. through a GPS
system). Depending on the required precision, the algorithm can take into
account additional parameters such as the time zone, the height above mean sea
level, the slope of the ground or the orientation of the object, as well as the
air temperature and pressure, which influence atmospheric refraction.
Areas of application for the
TwinCAT Solar Position Algorithm include parabolic mirror
systems that focus mirrors of several meters in diameter and track the sun with
great accuracy in order to focus the sun's rays in an ideal focal point. This
requires high-precision measurement of the sun angles. Photovoltaic, CSV and
CSP installations that track the sun position also operate on this basis.
Another area of application for this solution is in building automation, where
sensors alone are no longer sufficient to adequately deal with shading of large
building facades. The Beckhoff software can also be used for exact calculation
of shadow flicker from wind turbines, which is to be avoided in populated
areas. The results allow individual turbines to be switched off if necessary.