Why Solar Trackers Depend on Inclinometers

Jewell Instruments
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Tilt Control for Solar Tracking

The demand for renewable energy has grown as we seek to preserve our planet while harnessing its resources. The solar farm automation market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 18% between now and 2025 which means more solar farms will be popping up, worldwide.

Many countries are investing in this form of renewable energy and to ensure that they get the largest return on their investment, these panels must be designed and controlled with reliable components.

What a tilt sensor has to do with solar tracking

To harness the sun’s energy at all hours of the day, a solar tracking panel must be able to constantly make subtle movements so that the sun’s rays fall perpendicular to the panel. A high precision inclinometer (tilt sensor) is necessary within the design of these panels in order to ensure they operate at their best.

With a resolution as small as 1 µradian, a force-balanced inclinometer can be embedded into the base of the panel and provide feedback on its positioning. As the sun moves across the sky, the inclinometer can be used to automate the position of the panel to capture all the solar power it can.

What kind of sensors are useful

A single or dual-axis sensor is ideal for this kind of application. A force-balanced inclinometer will provide high performance and a long lifespan, but if your budget is a big factor, a MEMS sensor has lower precision, but is a suitable, low-cost option. Since this application is static, a gravity-referenced 900 series electrolytic tiltmeter is a highly sensitive and customizable option. To learn more about how these sensors can be implemented into your design, talk to us.

Why Solar Trackers Depend on Inclinometers

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