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The rise in the usage of non-renewable energy resources and fossil fuels has lead
the world to a stage where the main governments want to develop strategies and
policies that show they take care about the global warming and CO2 emissions.
That is the example of the European Union, where each country has assumed a
goal to complete by 2020 [1] and charges would apply to those that cannot achieve
this objective. The energy consumption can be divided into three main uses,
electricity, transport and energyheating [2] being transport the main source of
fuel consumption that need research to find better ways to power vehicles and
systems. According to P.E. Hodgson, fossil fuels are expected to reach a peak
production level in 2018 and after that fall in the subsequent years. Otherwise,
based on the supply and demand principle, the prices of this resource will rise as
the production level decreases coming to a critical level by 2060, when fossil fuels
are expected to become a very bad option to power the world [3]. Then other
alternatives need to be evaluated and taken into account for replacing these fuels.
When talking about replacing fossil fuels, there are some points that need to be
addressed first in order to get a stable point in the supply chain for renewable
energy resources. This is the example of the policies that favor the generation of
green energy in some countries where the consumer is awarded a tax reduction for
preferring energy from renewable resources or the companies responsible for
electrical distribution receive bonuses according to the percentage of green energy
they supply. Nowadays, the prices for renewable energy are higher than
conventional generation systems because green energy requires complex systems
to integrate themselves into the current grid and make it safe. Some research and
design stages are still required for integrate some renewable resources like offshore wind power, solar photovoltaics and wave power, but it has to be said that
the current state is mature and currently used mainly in niche and showcase
applications [4].
The prediction of renewable energy availability is a highly appreciated factor that
can be crucial when selecting between one system and other, thats why the use of
the sun and the solar thermal and photovoltaics is often preferred in some places
of the earth. The study of the movement of the sun and the huge studies (data
available) done by every country about the irradiation in that particular place of the
world, make this form of energy easy to address and study. The photovoltaics
panels (PV) are devices that harness the impact of the sun light on their surfaces
by exciting electrons in the internal materials (silicon and others) and create a
voltage difference between the ends of the these panels, generating a current and
providing a reliable source of electricity that can be only affected by the weather
conditions such as clouds or rain. One particular difference between photovoltaics
and other sources is that photovoltaics make the DC available instantly due to the
internal characteristics of the generation without needing a converter to use in
equipment, but in most cases this DC are converted in AC and then for final usage
is DC. The earth moves in relation to the sun describing a trajectory that can be

described by the Keplers laws of planetary motion, this means that the solar
incidence in one point at certain time of the day wont be the same at a different
time that day, consequently, there is a need to know where the highest energy
vector is pointing at certain time. For energy generation, in most cases, a PV panel
is placed in a fixed or manually operated way which causes that from the overall
energy ready to be collected, just the part that concurs in that place is taken. This
has been done and applied based on the thought that more energy and time
would be needed to harness the part of energy is being lost and this has led to
inefficient solar systems that dont reach its full potential by trying to avoid a little
higher investment. Sometimes, the way how this issue is solved is by installing a
micro-controller that simulates the movement of the sun according to the equations
mentioned, this means that a 3 axes system is needed, and then energy to power
these 3 motors is taken from the overall benefit of the system. A need is then
created to develop a model able to sense the irradiation of the sun, harness it in its
strongest points, and avoid possible errors introduced by applying the formulas for
sun movement, in other words, o achieve something more empirical rather to
improve the theoretical model (without throwing away the theoretical needs).
A solar tracking panel is a PV panel that fills the need for harness the strongest
points of concentration while following the sun and converting its energy into
electricity. The advantage of this system as it has been mentioned is the increase
in the energy efficiency and the availability to harness more power while trying to
reach the full potential of the equipment. It works by measuring some points of
irradiation and comparing them with others, based on this comparison it moves
towards the best energy-position. Several research studies have been made in this
field and important advances are already built such as the combination of the
theoretical and the empirical model in a 2-axes tracker done by Tung-Sheng Zhan
and Whei-Min Lin [5]. More advanced studies on this field will lead to an almost
perfect efficiency-improved model that suits the condition of the weather and
harness perfectly the sun in its place, in the other hand, its application in further
sun-applications such as solar-thermal, where the main panels are directed toward
a point of concentration and the energy is used to heat water for electricity
In order to enhance the efficiency of the system, the panel can be mounted on a
car. The advantage of this system is that it would provide more time exposure to
the sun light depending on the surroundings of this device, and how far can it go
while increasing the efficiency depending on the precision of the tracking module
and devices used for this purpose. Tuton Chandra Mallick et al [6] studied the
solar-tracking robotic car topic in their research paper called A Design &
Implementation of a Single Axis Solar Tracker with Diffuse Reflector. Their system
worked in the way that the vehicle will move on that direction where the sensor
detects maximum intensity of light, giving the system an efficiency rise of up to 7%
compared with the fixed panel.

The applications of this system can vary depending on what the final user wants,
maybe this wouldnt be suitable for concentrating plants as the space is reduced
and the panels are expected to be fixed, but in automated systems the tracking
device and its relative-movement program would be significantly important when
generating the electricity needed. Taking the recent use of the Solar Impulse
Airplane [7] and placing a tracker in it would provide extra capacity for its operation
and emergency needs in case of bad weather in some points of the earth, charging
batteries in mobile robots such as lawn mowers would take less time by activating
its tracking function.
Most of the solar panels that can be seen in some buildings are placed in a fixed
position in the top of the buildings reducing the efficiency and wasting valuable
sunlight during the morning or the afternoon because the movement of the sun.
This means that a single solar panel placed with this arrange, may take most of the
energy during the mornings and be almost useless in afternoons. There is another
option that taking this into account, put solar panels in both sides, increasing the
initial costs of the project and the future maintenance costs while trying to join the
two sources of energy and placing them into one device. What has been done in
this project, assuming a rooftop with triangular shape (or a surface where the panel
can be placed easily), is to place a single solar panel that is able to change its
position based on the amount of energy available to harness, this means that the
device will have the arrange described in figure 1.
Figure 1. Arrange of the Top Tracker

An infinite-position device would take all possible sun light (from the area
viewpoint), but the main purpose of this experiment is to calculate the variation of
the efficiency and power output of this arrange compared to the complete fixed

The prototype was built using some LEGO components as shown in figure 2.
Figure 2. LEGO Structure

As shown, the device is composed by:


LDR (Light-dependent Resistor) x 3.

Stepper motor to improve the precision of the move x 1.
Mini solar panel x1.
LEGO structure

The results given by this experiment are shown in table 1.

Table 1. Fixed Panel vs. Tracking Panel

The controller used in this experiment was the arduino-one.

Another approach in the research of this topic is the one done by mounting the
panel into a car and looking for harnessing the maximum amount of useful sunlight.
The floor device is always looking to move in the direction that suits better with

the electricity generation. A complete application of this technology in some smart

homes would mean that the overall amount of energy produced would increase
and the potential of the device may be achieved. A little con about this idea is the
fact that it may require a little maintenance extra-effort. Figure 6. Shows the
complete tracking device.
Figure 6. Car-mounted Tracking Device

This device has an important feature, the collision avoider. This is an ultrasonic
sensor placed in the direction of the movement; this technology has been largely
applied by some domestic robots, such as lawn mowers or house cleaners [8].
A car with a panel mounted was built and the parts shown represent a design effort
and thought. The sensors are placed in their specific place in order to achieve what
the project is looking for: efficiency. As a conclusion, it can be said that the
efficiency of the technology used to take advantage of the sunlight will, as it name
claims it, on the sunlight and every effort made to ensure that the light go directly to
the panel is a considerable advantage.
It is important to recognize, at this stage, that investment in renewable energy
should have a quantitative aspect, as well as a qualitative one, in other words, the
decision about investing in a certain project should take into account not only the
economic benefit, but its advantages in the investigation and efforts for taking the
first step in some paths for the green energy race.

A new way for placing solar panels was shown in this report, 3 positions were used
for harnessing the energy provided by the sun and this approach resulted more
efficient than the fixed one, making the arrange viable for using in the buildings that
want to generate some green energy.
A robot sun-tracker was design and built using the describe systems and the
analysis yielded that a considerable amount of efficiency raise can be achieved by
using tracking techniques. The solar panel was placed in a tracking device that
work with sunlight sensors that drive the motors to accomplish a condition in the
way that the panel is normal to the sun light. This arrangement is widely known and
used in the solar electricity generation. As could be shown, the solar panel follows
the sun trace in an effective way and the results are favorable and encourage the
use of tracking schemes for solar energy.
Two approaches were made for the fixed panels and tracking panels showing the
technology used and details about each device, where the LDR sensors take
almost the most important place. The important variable to measure is the power
output, where it could be seen that the tracking panel was superior to the fixed one
by almost 1 mW.
It is obvious that applying tracking techniques will increase the energy consumption
because the energy needed to power the motors, but according to some
investigations, this energy is small compared to the generated by the system and
the tracker is still more efficient than the fixed arrange.
The variables of voltage and current could be analyzed for comparing the types of
solar panels and some materials discussion, which is not the objective of this
It was shown that making a tracking panel is not waste of energy and resources as
it was thought at some points of the research in this field, but a good extra-effort
to make in order to guarantee the best efficiency. There are several applications of
the Tracking Car that include its use in smart houses and offices, mobile selfpowered robots as the example mentioned and the now-common drone.
As a recommendation, precise parts (such a smaller-step stepper motor ) and
appropriate coding can become an energy-efficiency trigger, not to mention the
overall efficiency of the solar panel, which is a matter of several studies because its
efficiency has not reached a desirable value (not even 20% in some cases). This
lead to the financial analysis of what the project wants and what it requires.

1. House of Lords, UK, 2008. Report. The Economics of Renewable Energy, 1, 6.
The House of Lords is an organization located in the UK that provides information
about important matters to the country. In their economic affairs committee, they
discuss about the economics of renewable energy by analyzing the different types
(ocean, solar, biomass) and what are the following steps to achieve the established
In page number 6, they state the goals established by the European commission
that says, The EU is committed to a binding target that 20% of its energy
consumption should be from renewable sources by 2020. This topic is taken
further by analyzing how much of this total have to be achieved by each country, in
example, they say The expected UK target implies a dash from 1.8% renewable
energy now to a near-tenfold increase in 12 years.
2. House of Lords, UK, 2008. Report. The Economics of Renewable Energy, 1, 11.
When analyzing the demand of energy consumption in page number 11, they
divide the main uses of energy into heat, electricity, land transport, and aviation
and clarify that only 1% of the heat and transport energy comes from renewable
resources. This fact is important because it points the urgency of developing new
technologies to use in this field and decrease the usage of fossil fuels necessary
for now to power vehicles.
3. Ecotricity. 2015. The End of Fossil Fuels. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 07 June 15].
This paper discuss the past, present and future of fossil fuels from a negative
viewpoint by stating, fossil fuels will be gone forever and letting clear that its only
a matter of time for the world to run out of this kind of fuels. Another analysis is
carried out when analyzing the risks of keeping the usage of gas and coal and
saying that it will only make the world more dependable of them without looking for
other options before 2088.
4. House of Lords, UK, 2008. Report. The Economics of Renewable Energy, 1, 78.
The report shows a table describing where each type of renewable energy is, what
can be achieved, what is holding it back from full success and what needs to be
done. For solar photovoltaics, they say that the main causes for slow-growing are
high capital cost, lack of skilled installers, competition for raw materials that result
in high cost, and lack of information and accreditation schemes. It is important to
recognize that the first thing to be done is research and design into manufacturing,
point that this report try to advance in. Other important steps to take are skills
development and research into materials.

5. Zhan, TSZ, 2013. Design and Implementation of the Dual-axis Solar Tracking
System. 2013 IEEE 37th Annual Computer Software and Applications Conference,
1, 1.
The robot designed by them uses the theoretical Keplers equations to calculate
the angles (latitude and azimuth). This information is translated into commands to
drive DC motors that rotate the panel and once is in the expected position, the
feedback from the sunlight sensors provide the information to drive the motors.
This experiment uses 2 axes, meaning that the system can move right-left and updown to properly track the light as described. This experiment had a result of an
increase in the overall efficiency of 17%-25% for sunny days and 8%-11% in cloudy
days (compared to the fixed arrange)
6. Tuton, C.M, et al (2014). A Design & Implementation of a Single Axis Solar
Tracker with Diffuse Reflector. In The 9th International Forum on Strategic
Technology. Bangladesh, October 21-23, 2014. Chittagong, Bangladesh: Premier
University. 3
This project compares three sets of data obtained by different means but using a
single-axis solar-tracking system that consist in a robot that follows the sunlight in
order to harness the most possible. This report integrates the control systems and
the hardware design for the tracker while explaining which way is the most efficient
to install the sunlight sensors and a possible way to wire them. Control schemes
are provided as a guidance.
7. Solar Impulse RTW. 2015. Solar Impulse. [ONLINE] Available at:
home. [Accessed 03 June 15]
This is a project that tries to take an airplane all around the world just solarpowering it. The airplane took off from Abu Dhabi and is now in a city of Japan. The
project reflects all the advances that have been reached in the solar renewable
energy and represents a breakthrough that is expected to encourage more people
into the investigation and involvement in this field.
8. iRobot Roomba. 2015. Vacuum cleaning robot. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed
07 June 15].
This commercial robot sweeps the house automatically by creating cleaning
circuits. The device integrates a series of sensors and processors that can detect
what areas havent been cleaned and when obstacles such as walls, chairs,
tables, etc. are in front of the robot adapting it to the house where it is used in.

Literature Review
Although solar energy is considered to be in a developed phase, the literature
available tends to focus on the basic important topics: materials selection for panel,
control schemes for harnessing the most energy, number of axis to maximize the
efficiency, and tracking options available.

Gan, GY, 2014. Research on Solar Tracking Composite Control. Tokyo

The goals of the authors is to explain a genetics based algorithm to improve the
control applied to heliostats in solar-thermal plants. There are two basis methods
for controlling the movement of the panels, the theoretical sun-movement
dependant, where the rotation of the panel depends on the Keplers equations, and
the sunlight-measurement dependant, where the closed loop circuit uses sunlight
sensors to provide feedback to a microcontroller and this one controls the rotation
of the panel. Authors say that the first one lacks on precision and self-control
because the movement is fixed meaning that the system is relying on equations
that may not take into account the weather conditions, i.e. if there are clouds or its
raining and the second one requires a lot of initial costs since several photodiodes
or sensors are to be installed in each panel to make it light-dependable.
The authors suggest that there has to be an algorithm that can overcome those
inefficiencies and explain the basis of the assumption (based on genetics) by
saying that the solar thermal power plant is a population where heliostat angles
survive on through collection compared with individuals, reproduction, and
development. The amount of the energy that the tower is absorbing is the factor
that affect the evolution of populations, the most-optimum focusing heliostat angle
survives and GA (genetics algorithm) eliminates the others.
In the design process, for this paper they come up with two improved control
schemes. The first is the theoretical combined with the genetic algorithm (what
they call Dichotomy combined with local area algorithm-D-LAGA) and the second
one is the fit control scheme combined with genetic algorithm (GA-OFCS). The fit
control scheme is an approach where each heliostat fitness is described as the
energy being supplied to the tower from that specific device making it the
strongest one. The developing stage of these algorithms includes some equations
and theoretical approaches, but the report lacks on programming and construction
details, what microprocessor was used, which sensors were placed and where,
etc. As a conclusion, the paper shows that the efficiency of D-LAGA increases
about 34.8% and GA-OFCS increases approximately 31.5% compared to fixed
position generation. Statistics say that original composite control method efficiency
increases about 33% to 35% compared to fixed-type power generation, what be
assumed as that the original composite control is enough efficiency improvement

but the fact that just some heliostats need sunlight sensors make the current paper
a very good option for controlling the devices from the financial viewpoint.
Another system control approach, but for photovoltaic panels is discussed in the
next review.

Mashohor, S, 2008. Evaluation of Genetic Algorithm based Solar Tracking

System for Photovoltaics Panel. Malaysia

In this work, the GA is proposed to give a solution to the little inefficiencies the two
explained control methods have. The system described is a PV panel using 2 axis
to locate itself in an ideal direction to harness the most quantity of energy from the
sun. It is assumed that the system will require just one calibration, right after its
installation, and after that, the algorithm will start looking for the best values of
power generated and position itself. For this experiment to be carried out, a
simulator is used, but details about its name or function are not provided.
The position method relies in the fact that the tilt and azimuth angle are both
ranged from 0 to 180 degrees, then certain position is a combination of those
parameters. If the algorithm wants to find the best local, it has 180x180=32400
places to find it, fact that the authors describe as suitable for GA to explore. Its
assumed that the maximum power value is 10 W (generated into a Look-Up table).
Although this paper represents a good advance in the solar energy technologydevelopment, the application for the current work is just how the variables of a
system (sunlight values, motors placement, etc.) can be put together into a
software in a way that it avoid control and programming inefficiencies.

Haryanti, M, 2014. Development of Two Axis Solar Tracking Using Five

Photodiodes. Electrical Power, Electronics, Communications, Controls, and
Informatics Seminar

The paper describes how a solar tracking system was designed and built using an
arrange of one panel, two axes of movement and five photodiodes to track the
movement of the sun and make the system more efficient. The axes of movement
are south-north and east-west. The actuators are one linear actuator and one
conventional motor. The experiment uses five different sensors pointing at different
directions as shown in the figure.

The purpose of the placement of the four external sensors is to monitor the sunlight
from those directions and the fifth one in the middle is responsible for facing the
panel up to the sun direction.
The objectives of this work are to build the solar PV system and to apply a tracking
scheme to it when using an artificial light with intensity similar to day light. It is
considered important for this project because it shows the components necessary
to build the system, such as the sensors (photodiodes to make it cheaper), holding
frame, control and logical system, etc. In addition, it gives the experiment results
showing the time response for the actuators and explain how it could be improved
in the future. The work also shows a table that represents the energy loss due to
the angle difference between the sun and the solar panel; it says that loss can go
up to 65.8% when the angle difference is 80.
The electronic components used in this paper are also a basis to study in order to
understand the basic requirements. In example, authors used a microcontroller
Atmega32 to control all components, having the values for the 5 different voltages,
they are compared with the database of angles that are stored in the
microcontroller. The actuators are going to turn on only if the elevation angle is
more than 15 or if the azimuth angle is more than 7.81 and they are going to be
activated until the panel face itself perpendicular to the sun.
In order to control the movement of the actuators, the system function in this way:
when the system is turned on, the program starts to run and the sensors are hit by
the sunlight, the voltage is measured on each one and the program waits until all
voltages are greater than 0.1 V (user experience). After that, the system compares
the voltages of the sensors, if the sum of voltages 2 and 4 is greater than the sum
of the other two, the lineal actuator turns on until a set point is achieved and
activates timer on 1 hour in order to verify the new conditions in one hour. If not,
the rotator turns on until the correspondent set point and activates a timer on 30
days, time in which new conditions have to be verified. This control scheme makes
the sensor calibration the most important part of the experiment in order to avoid
errors and inefficiencies. This is overcame by saving the data in the controllers
memory and comparing it with the data obtained in every days operation.
The experiment also measured the response time of the system to a new voltage
value. The sensor in the middle is responsible for the movement of the system, if
there is a high voltage difference, it means that the panel is placed far from where
it is supposed to be, and then more time is required for it to position itself.
Experimental results yields that for a 0.25 V value on that sensor, the response
time was approximately 9 seconds, but for 2.5 V was almost 2 seconds. The
authors conclude by saying that this system has a 5% of error in the tracking
design (compared with theoretical approach). As a comment, it would have been
valuable to show the power generated by the system and the area and materials of

the panel because the voltage doesnt show significant information regarding the
electricity generation.

Afarulrazi, A.B, 2011. Solar Tracker Robot using Microcontroller. 1.

Malaysia: University Tun Hussein Onn

This paper is related more to the design of the tracking architecture and
construction of the system and provides a good practical background to build
similar systems because it shows the wiring diagrams (although there is one
servomotor missing) and the final robot built. The proposed approach is a 2-axis
tracker that relies on the signal of two LDR (Light Dependent Resistors) to provide
information about where the panel is and where it needs to be. For knowing the
current position of the robot, a digital compass is used. This compass provides the
position information that will be compared with the LDR data and the
microprocessor will correct the error. The microprocessor used is a PIC16F877A,
the programming software is MPLAB IDE v8.30 and Fluke 1750 power quality
recorder was used.
The project uses three servomotors and a driver servo motor. One servomotor is
used to move and position the LDRs. The arrange of the LDRs is a perpendicular
one, assuming that when both LDRs are receiving the same amount of light, the
position is correct (normal to the sun beam) and the microprocessor should
assume that position to control the other three servo motors. Explanation of the
sensors placement choice is shown in the following figure:

The authors split the robot in two parts: tracker and base. The servomotor for the
LDRs is in the tracker and the other three are in the base. Limit switches are also
used to prevent the robot to drive the panel to undesirable places, hitting objects or
damaging itself.
In the first placement, the robot will be placed heading to the north, meaning that
the compass angle is 0 and the panel will track the light from east to west. If the
north placement start to be inefficient due to the solar movement, the
microprocessor runs a software that reads the current position of the tracker and if
the angle from 1 up to 180 degrees, the microprocessor turns the servomotors
counter clock wise, but if the angle is from 181 to 359, the servomotors are
activated clockwise.

The collected data belongs to the conditions on 22 March from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in
Malaysia. Although is a highly valuable feature that the report includes all the
information about voltage, current and power lectures for the panel and resistance
for different conditions of the LDRs, it has to be taken into account that this data
cannot be used to design or assess other devices in different places of the world at
different days and hours. However, its suggested that every country collect that
kind of data in order to encourage the investigation on solar energy.
Finally, the authors show the comparing graph of the power generated by the fixed
system and the tracking system, yielding that the power can increase up to 19.72%
using the tracking device. The authors may have made a mistake by comparing the
fixed system and the tracking system just with the energy generated, it means,
they didnt take into account the energy used to power the servomotors as the
equations in page 49 suggest.
The report lacks on information about how the driver servomotor was controlled
and which logical approaches were used, because the only information given is
that when the LDRs are in a shadow, that driver is activated until they are
illuminated again, but it doesnt mention what happens if the tracker is not able to
find an illuminated spot. From first sight, seems that using 4 motors would
consume more electricity than expected, making the overall efficiency decrease,
this report could be changing precision for efficiency, meaning that maybe less
precise devices may have a higher efficiency.
It would have been useful to mention the area of the panel used in order to get
more practical data about the amount of energy that can be harnessed with certain
amount of area, fact that is almost crucial when evaluating a project financially. In
addition, the cost of making the robot (base, sensors, compass, microprocessor,
etc.) could have serve as guide to future researchers when evaluating the initial

Mahmood, O.T, (2013). Programmable Logic Controller Based Design and

Implementation of Multiple Axes Solar Tracking System. In The First
International Conference of Electrical, Communication, Computer, Power
and Control Engineering. Iraq, December 17-18, 2013. Hawija: Dept. of
Electrical Technologies

The present work represents a theoretical-empirical approach to the tracking issue

since it uses the solar-movement equations to drive a solar panel with the help of a
Siemens LOGO! Programmable Logic Controller (PLC). The project was about
designing, building and evaluating the system and its performance using two axis,
one for vertically daily tracking and horizontal seasonal tracking, while
comparing the tracking option to the fixed one. The project differentiates itself from
the rest in the fact that it doesnt use sunlight sensors to add precision to the
tracking task, it relies entirely in the theoretical equations. At first, the author

describe the process of construction of solar cells from the theoretical viewpoint but
not making a selection of materials or dimensions.
The author mentions and discuss the benefits of the tracking techniques available
and select the open loop one based on the assumption that a PLC can run and
execute the entire tasks (controlling the motors, running the programs, etc.) without
human intervention and taking into account that sunlight sensors can have errors
during dusty and rainy days. A complete study of the basic earth-sun angles is
carried out in order to understand how the PLC is going to know where to move the
panel, explaining the concepts of latitude, hour angle, declination angle, etc. and
their application into the tracking system.
The calculation of the angles was made using Matlab 7.11 by introducing the
equations in the software and plotting them for a specific day and time. From
Matlab, the results are taken to the PLC and stored there making it run using
various hourly, daily, monthly, and yearly timers. This means that if the PLC reads
that today is the day 30th of June, it will change the program the next day.
PLC operation only needs to run the specified programs and to provide the output
signals to the motors, this is why the system is called open loop, because it
doesnt need a feedback. In order to make the control of the panel easy, the DC
motors are able to run clock and counter clockwise. The PLC program is done by
using Soft Comfort software (manufacturer software to configure the device) in a
computer; this program is sent to the PLC memory later. The program is configured
in a four parts block; the parts are forward horizontal daily tracking per one month,
backward horizontal daily tracking, forward vertical daily tracking per one month
and backward vertical daily tracking per one month. According to the description,
the system operation is as follows:
1. Initialization of the system.
2. Calculation of the required sun angles for vertical and horizontal axis.
3. Set the time of the blocks in the PLC according to the required position.
4. Sending command from the yearly and weekly timers to the motors.
4*. At the sunrise, start the horizontal tracking by sending the signal to the
5. At the sunset, the motors receive a signal to go to the position required for
the next day.
* The steps happen at the same time

The results obtained during the 20 th of April at 34 latitude apparently show that the
power obtained with the tracking device was 38% higher than the obtained with the
fixed one, but again, the paper doesnt show if the author took the power to
generate the motors into account.

It would have been useful to show the area of the panel and the cost of the project
in the report for the reasons discussed earlier. The usage of a PLC in this kind of
devices make them robust and reliable. Further studies would have to be done in
order to assess the need of that robust system, it means, that maybe a
microprocessor such as an arduino one would have been cheaper and enough to
run that kind of software.
The work is highly useful since it gives the coding necessary to program the PLC in
a KOP language. Another useful feature is that it explains the basic literature of the
main problem (tracking the sun) and takes the project step by step to make it more
understandable while showing how easy is to build such a system.

Kassem, A, 2011. A Microcontroller-Based Multi-Function Solar Tracking

System. Lebanon: Notre Dame University Louaize.

This work can be considered a highly practical one since it explains how the control
and the hardware of the tracking system was made. The project aims were to
design and build the complete solar energy tracker and to compare the results with
the fixed ones regarding the efficiency. One important issue that the report
overcomes is the powering of the system, the designed tracker has its own battery
and all elements are powered by the electricity produced. This represents an
advantage compared to previous discussed works that didnt mention that and can
be assumed that the power for the motors and sensors is provided with the use of
an external source.
The tracker uses the sunlight tracking approach where 3 photo resistors are placed
on the panel in order to provide the feedback signal to the closed loop control. The
actuators are stepper motors and they receive the signal from a microcontroller
that processes the signals of the sensors and provides information about where is
more efficient to move the panel to. The operation of the tracker is configured as
1. Place the panel in the initial position (0, 0, 0)
2. Using the photo resistors, the maximum value of sun light is found and saved
3. At this point, the current is measured
4. If the value of the current is less than a threshold value, the system waits 30
minutes and goes to the step 2; but if the value is greater, it goes to step 5.
5. The tracker turns the panel 3.5 left and the current is measured again, if the
current is greater than the actual one, the panel rotates until it finds the maximum
value; but if its not greater, it turns right and repeat the same process.
6. If the tracker finds a maximum current point, it turns the other stepper motor in
order to find the maximum current in the Z axis and wait 45 minutes.
7. Store the coordinates found.

At the end, the process from point 2 is repeated.

Its not pointed why the times 30 and 45 minutes are used for waiting and not other
The paper comes up with the conclusion that the tracking efficiency is about 64%
greater compared to the fixed arrange and table the current values for different
hours in the day. A good feature of this tracker is that it has a LCD screen to read
what is happening in the system and those data can be transmitted to control a
remote system.
Author doesnt mention the place and the data when the data was taken. As
discussed these are important parameters to measure the effectiveness of the
experiment because what can be considered good results in certain place, could
be poor results in another one.
In page 2, the author mentions that a raise of 95% of efficiency in the electricity
generation can be expected in comparison with the fixed arrange. As known, such
improvement is not actually possible and that comment could have been a writing
In page number 3, it is mentioned that system consumes little power but the value
of the power is not given and could have been a very good reference for future
As a comment, a conventionality should be applied, since different projects name
the process variables with different names, i.e., sometimes the axes are called
West-East, XY, depending on what the author wants with the project. This can
confuse the researchers in this field. Its proposed the usage of XYZ worldwide,
where X is the east-west direction, Y is the north-south and Z is the vertical

Fei, Y, (2012). Design of the Solar-driven Module on Modular Mobile Robot.

In 19th International Conference on Mechatronics and Machine Vision in
Practice (M2VIP). New Zealand, 28-30 th Nov, 2012. Auckland: University
Auckland. 4.

A tracking robot is designed under the scheme of the usage of LDR sensors. The
system has 2 degrees of freedom and uses a control system based on the signal
from 25 LDRs to move the two motors. It has to be taken into account that the
system doesnt intent to generate electricity, the report cares more about the
construction and the tracking capabilities than the current or voltage results, since
no power generation results are provided.
A flashlight is used to assess the robot abilities to track the light and the authors
describe the system as efficient to track the sun but results about how quickly the
system responds to a change in the position of the light source are not shown.

Authors explain what components were used and the purpose of each one. Wiring
and control diagrams are provided in order to understand the system better and to
encourage the research in this field.
This work can be taken as an investigation in the half of the tracking devices,
since it discuss just the tracking of the light without caring about electricity
generated. This may lead to the situation that diffuse radiation may not be taken
into account in some places where it is highly important since the tracker is just
looking for the sun, but not looking for the energy concentration points, so, for
complementing this work in the energy generation field, frequent measures should
be carried out to fin those points.