In this paper, an intelligent approach is proposed to optimize the orientation of continuous solar tracking systems on cloudy days. Considering the weather case, the direct sunlight is more important than the diffuse radiation in case of clear sky. Thus, the panel is always pointed towards the sun. In case of an overcast sky, the solar beam is close to zero, and the panel is placed horizontally to receive the maximum of diffuse radiation. Under partly covered conditions, the panel must be pointed towards the source that emits the maximum of solar energy and it may be anywhere in the sky dome. Thus, the idea of our approach is to analyze the images, captured by ground-based sky camera system, in order to detect the zone in the sky dome which is considered as the optimal source of energy under cloudy conditions. The proposed approach is implemented using experimental setup developed at PROMES-CNRS laboratory in Perpignan city (France). Under overcast conditions, the results were very satisfactory, and the intelligent approach has provided efficiency gains of up to 9% relative to conventional continuous sun tracking systems.
Discussions on concepts of Single Axis Tracker (SAT) are becoming more and more apt for developing countries like India not just as an advancement in racking technology but due to the utmost necessity of reaching at the lowest Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) targets. With this increasing competition and significant fall in feed-in tariffs of solar PV projects, developers are under constant pressure to secure investment for their projects and eventually earn profits from them. Moreover, being the second largest populated country, India suffers from scarcity of land because of higher average population density. So, to mitigate the risk of this dual edged sword with reducing trend of unit (kWh) cost at one side and utilization of land on the other, tracking evolved as the call of the hour. Therefore, the prime objectives of this paper are not only to showcase how STT proves to be an effective mechanism to get more gain in Global Incidence in collector plane (Ginc) with respect to traditional mounting systems but also to introduce Seasonally Tilted Tracker (STT) technology as a possible option for high latitude locations.