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A New Photovoltaic Module Design Paradigm: Cell Strands That Track the Sun

[+] Author Affiliations
Bill Diong, Scott Tippens

Southern Polytechnic State University, Marietta, GA

Teshaun Francis, Marcus Herndon

Florida International University, Miami, FL

Paper No. ES2015-49770, pp. V002T11A005; 6 pages
  • ASME 2015 9th International Conference on Energy Sustainability collocated with the ASME 2015 Power Conference, the ASME 2015 13th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology, and the ASME 2015 Nuclear Forum
  • Volume 2: Photovoltaics; Renewable-Non-Renewable Hybrid Power System; Smart Grid, Micro-Grid Concepts; Energy Storage; Solar Chemistry; Solar Heating and Cooling; Sustainable Cities and Communities, Transportation; Symposium on Integrated/Sustainable Building Equipment and Systems; Thermofluid Analysis of Energy Systems Including Exergy and Thermoeconomics; Wind Energy Systems and Technologies
  • San Diego, California, USA, June 28–July 2, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: Advanced Energy Systems Division, Solar Energy Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5685-7
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


A project was recently undertaken with the objective of designing a novel photovoltaic module, which encloses groups of solar cells that can track the sun. This will allow the module itself to be mounted simply at a fixed tilt but still reap the substantial energy collecting benefits presently associated only with rotating active and passive solar tracking panels, while avoiding their significant additional complexity, cost and weight. The main ultimate goal is to design such a module to collect at least 25% more energy than a similarly-sized fixed-tilt solar panel, while limiting its added production cost to less than 25%. This paper describes the module’s specific design requirements, and the analysis and design embodiments that have led to a few closely related prototypes based on bimetallic coil actuators. It also presents outdoor test (in the state of Georgia, USA) results showing that the most recent such prototypes collected just over 6% more energy than a similarly-sized fixed-tilt solar panel.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME
Topics: Design



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