Title: A comparison between simulation and empirical methods to determine fixed versus sun-tracking photovoltaic panel performance

Authors: Bahram Asiabanpour; Zaid Almusaied; Kyle Rainosek; Kyle Davidson

Addresses: Ingram School of Engineering, Texas State University - San Marcos, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA ' Ingram School of Engineering, Texas State University - San Marcos, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA ' Ingram School of Engineering, Texas State University - San Marcos, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA ' Ingram School of Engineering, Texas State University - San Marcos, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA

Abstract: This paper presents a comparison between a simulation and an empirical method to determine the performance of fixed versus sun-tracking photovoltaic (PV) panels. A comparison is also done of the breakeven point for the extra cost of implementing a dual-axis tracking system in three scenarios (one panel, four panels, and nine panels). Measurements and comparisons in both the simulation and the empirical approaches included realistic energy generation and associated benefits/costs of two similar solar panels, where one is oriented by accurate manual sun tracking and the other is in a fixed horizontal position on four selected days in four seasons. The empirical results show that a single panel sun-tracking system will never reach a breakeven point, while four panels and nine panels will reach the breakeven point in 8 and 18 years, respectively. The simulation results were about 15% less than the empirical results (never, 7, and 15 years for one, four, and nine panels, respectively). Additionally, the use of sun-tracking mechanisms is more effective for winter months compared to summer months. This is due to the Earth's titling angle and the sun being at the highest point in the sky, with sun-tracking and fixed-horizontal panels in a more similar position in the summer compared to winter.

Keywords: selective inhibition of sintering; path generation algorithm; rapid prototyping; programmable heater.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCAT.2019.099504

International Journal of Computer Applications in Technology, 2019 Vol.60 No.1, pp.37 - 50

Received: 06 Sep 2017
Accepted: 13 Aug 2018

Published online: 30 Apr 2019 *

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