Tracking the Sun

By Al Presher in Design News, February 8 2010

A new generation of Sun tracking systems are playing a key role in the emergence of solar power. But
the design challenge for engineers lies in the balancing of cost, ease of installation and the need for long-term reliability of these new systems.

Rapid prototyping and simulation provide tools for developing advanced control algorithms and more sophisticated two-axis systems emerging with the growth of concentrated photovoltaics (CPV). But the key for single-axis solar tracking control systems used in large-scale solar plants is still a fundamental focus on cost, installation and an expected product lifetime of 20 to 30 years.

The recent announcement of Reliathon™ by Suntech Power Holdings Co., a worldwide leader in crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) modules, underscores the need for long-term reliability as a key component in the viability of solar installations moving forward.

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