Project Title

Dual-Axis Solar Tracker

Document Type

Undergraduate Project

Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2019

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department

Mechanical Engineering Technology

Committee Chair

Dr. Craig Johnson

Second Committee Member

Dr. John Choi

Third Committee Member

Professor Charles Pringle

Abstract

The global energy crisis and continued supporting evidence of global climate change have begun to shift the world economies towards solutions that solve both challenges. Solar power has become one of the most recognizable and popularized renewable energy methods to date. In comparison to other photovoltaic systems, this project demonstrates the performance advantages of a dual-axis solar tracker. It also addressing its viability on a non-commercial scale. The objective was to improve upon previous solar tracker projects at Central Washington University by adding another axis to the system. This system implements both an actuator and a stepper motor to examine the advantages of using different drivers. Initially, the theoretical design and construction plan of the device was developed. Sketches and drawings were created with engineering analysis and supporting research for the best possible results. The manufacturing phase encompassed project management, risk mitigation and materializing the theoretical design. Materials, logistics, and human resources are all processed during this period, in accordance with the proposed budget and schedule, to ensure the project came to fruition. Based on the deliverables set out by the design requirements, the project provided largely successful results. The entire project was developed under budget, on schedule, with both axes functioning as intended, and under the weight limits. The photovoltaic was able to maintain a perpendicular relationship with sunlight within 3% tolerance. The energy collected was approximately 38.9% more than the PV cell without the tracking system.

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