Type of Document Thesis Author Wang, Kai-Fan Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-11102008-152813 Title Design, Installation, and Solar Energy Efficiency Assessment of a Dual-Axis Tracker Degree Master of Science Department Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Yaw A. Owusu Committee Chair Egwu E. Kalu Committee Member Samuel A. Awoniyi Committee Member Keywords
- Active Solar Tracker
Date of Defense 2008-11-07 Availability unrestricted AbstractEnvironmental and economic problems caused by over-dependence on fossil fuels have increased the demand and request for green energy produced by alternative renewable sources. Producing electricity by using photovoltaic cells (also called solar cells) is a fast growing industry. There are two main ways to make photovoltaic cells more efficient. One method is to improve the materials design and the other is to optimize the output by installing the solar panels on a tracking base that follows the sun. This research employed the latter method.
The main purpose of the thesis was to design and assemble of a dual-axis solar tracker with a view to assess the improvement in solar conversion efficiency. A comparative analysis was performed using three systems, i.e., Dual-Axis Tracking, Single-Axis Tracking and Stationary Modules. ¡®¡¯Design Expert 6.0¡± statistical software was used to process the design of experiment and to determine the effects of four chosen factors (Tracking or No Tracking, Type of Modules, Time of the Day, and Weather Condition).
The results showed that the use of the Dual-Axis Tracking System produced 18% gain of power output, compared with a Single-Axis Tracking System. The gain of output power with the Dual-Axis Tracking System was much higher (53%) when compared with a stationary system inclined at 30¢ª to the horizontal. A benefit-cost analysis performed on the three systems showed that the unit cost of energy produced by the Dual-Axis Tracker is $0.53, which is reasonable, considering the state of the technology and the potential added benefit of any future amortization when employed on a large scale.
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