US20100000517A1 - Sun position tracking - Google Patents

Sun position tracking Download PDF

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Publication number
US20100000517A1
US20100000517A1 US12/495,303 US49530309A US2010000517A1 US 20100000517 A1 US20100000517 A1 US 20100000517A1 US 49530309 A US49530309 A US 49530309A US 2010000517 A1 US2010000517 A1 US 2010000517A1
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light source
light
sunlight
direct sunlight
part
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US12/495,303
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James Thomas Zalusky
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MH Solar Co Ltd
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GREENFIELD SOLAR CORP
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Application filed by GREENFIELD SOLAR CORP filed Critical GREENFIELD SOLAR CORP
Priority to US12/495,303 priority patent/US20100000517A1/en
Assigned to GREENFIELD SOLAR CORP. reassignment GREENFIELD SOLAR CORP. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: ZALUSKY, JAMES THOMAS
Priority claimed from MX2011000201A external-priority patent/MX2011000201A/en
Publication of US20100000517A1 publication Critical patent/US20100000517A1/en
Assigned to MH SOLAR CO., LTD. reassignment MH SOLAR CO., LTD. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: GREENFIELD SOLAR CORP.
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H02GENERATION; CONVERSION OR DISTRIBUTION OF ELECTRIC POWER
    • H02SGENERATION OF ELECTRIC POWER BY CONVERSION OF INFRA-RED RADIATION, VISIBLE LIGHT OR ULTRAVIOLET LIGHT, e.g. USING PHOTOVOLTAIC [PV] MODULES
    • H02S20/00Supporting structures for PV modules
    • H02S20/30Supporting structures being movable or adjustable, e.g. for angle adjustment
    • H02S20/32Supporting structures being movable or adjustable, e.g. for angle adjustment specially adapted for solar tracking
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24SSOLAR HEAT COLLECTORS; SOLAR HEAT SYSTEMS
    • F24S50/00Arrangements for controlling solar heat collectors
    • F24S50/20Arrangements for controlling solar heat collectors for tracking
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01SRADIO DIRECTION-FINDING; RADIO NAVIGATION; DETERMINING DISTANCE OR VELOCITY BY USE OF RADIO WAVES; LOCATING OR PRESENCE-DETECTING BY USE OF THE REFLECTION OR RERADIATION OF RADIO WAVES; ANALOGOUS ARRANGEMENTS USING OTHER WAVES
    • G01S3/00Direction-finders for determining the direction from which infrasonic, sonic, ultrasonic, or electromagnetic waves, or particle emission, not having a directional significance, are being received
    • G01S3/78Direction-finders for determining the direction from which infrasonic, sonic, ultrasonic, or electromagnetic waves, or particle emission, not having a directional significance, are being received using electromagnetic waves other than radio waves
    • G01S3/782Systems for determining direction or deviation from predetermined direction
    • G01S3/785Systems for determining direction or deviation from predetermined direction using adjustment of orientation of directivity characteristics of a detector or detector system to give a desired condition of signal derived from that detector or detector system
    • G01S3/786Systems for determining direction or deviation from predetermined direction using adjustment of orientation of directivity characteristics of a detector or detector system to give a desired condition of signal derived from that detector or detector system the desired condition being maintained automatically, i.e. tracking systems
    • G01S3/7861Solar tracking systems
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02EREDUCTION OF GREENHOUSE GAS [GHG] EMISSIONS, RELATED TO ENERGY GENERATION, TRANSMISSION OR DISTRIBUTION
    • Y02E10/00Energy generation through renewable energy sources
    • Y02E10/40Solar thermal energy
    • Y02E10/47Mountings or tracking

Abstract

Tracking the position of the sun is provided where light from sources other than direct sunlight can be ignored. In particular, lights from various sources can be passed through differently angled polarizers to determine radiation energies from the polarizers. This can indicate whether the original light is polarized or substantially non-polarized, like the sun. Additionally, the light can be passed through a spectral filter to reject light not falling within a spectrum of wavelengths or having weak intensity with respect to direct sunlight. Subsequently, the light can pass through a ball lens and quadrant cell configuration to optimally align a device or apparatus to receive the direct sunlight. Additionally, the size of a focus point of the light through the ball lens and onto the quadrant cell can determine a collimation of the light, which can indicate direct sunlight as well.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/077,991, filed on Jul. 3, 2008, entitled “SUN POSITION TRACKING,” the entirety of which is incorporated herein by reference.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Limited supply of fossil energy resources and associated global environmental damage have compelled market forces to diversify energy resources and related technologies. One such resource that has received some attention is solar energy, which employs photovoltaic technology to convert light into electricity. Solar technology is typically implemented in a series of solar (photovoltaic) cells or panels of cells that receive sunlight and convert the sunlight into electricity, which can be subsequently fed into a power grid. Significant progress has been achieved in design and production of solar panels, which has effectively increased efficiency while reducing manufacturing cost thereof. As more highly efficient solar cells are developed, size of the cell is decreasing leading to an increase in the practicality of employing solar panels to provide a competitive renewable energy substitute. To this end, solar energy collection systems can be deployed to feed solar energy into power grids.
  • Typically, a solar energy collection system includes an array of solar panels arranged in rows and mounted on a support structure. Such solar panels can be oriented to optimize the solar panel energy output to suit the particular solar energy collection system design requirements. Solar panels can be mounted on a fixed structure, with a fixed orientation and fixed tilt, or can be mounted on a moving structure to aim the solar panels toward the sun as properly orienting the panels to receive the maximum solar radiation will yield increased production of energy. Some automated tracking systems have been developed to point panels toward the sun based on the time and date alone, as the sun position can be somewhat predicted from these metrics; however, this does not provide for optimal alignment as the sun position can narrowly change from its calculated position. Other approaches include sensing light and accordingly aiming the solar panels toward the light. These technologies typically employ a shadow mask such that when the sun is on the axis of the detector, shadowed and directly illuminated areas of the cell are of equal size. However, such technologies detect light produced from many sources other than direct sunlight, such as reflection from clouds, lasers, etc.
  • SUMMARY
  • The following presents a simplified summary in order to provide a basic understanding of some aspects described herein. This summary is not an extensive overview nor is intended to identify key/critical elements or to delineate the scope of the various aspects described herein. Its sole purpose is to present some concepts in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description that is presented later.
  • Tracking position of the sun is provided where direct sunlight can be detected over other sources of light. In this regard, solar cells can be concentrated substantially directly on the sunlight yielding high energy efficiency. In particular, light analyzers can operate in conjunction within a sunlight tracker where each analyzer can receive one of a plurality of light sources. Resulting photo-signals from the analyzers can be produced and compared to determine if the light is direct sunlight; in this regard, sources that are not determined to be direct sunlight can be ignored. In one example, the light analyzers can comprise a polarizer, spectral filter, ball lens, and/or a quadrant cell to effectuate this purpose. In addition, an amplifier can be provided to convey a resulting photo-signal for processing thereof, for instance.
  • According to an example, a number of light analyzers can be configured in a given sunlight tracker. For instance, the polarizers of the light analyzers can be utilized to ensure substantial non-polarization of the original light source, as is the case for direct sunlight. In an example, the spectral filter of the light analyzer can be utilized to block certain light wavelengths allowing a range utilized by sunlight. Moreover, ball lens and quadrant cell configurations can be utilized to determine a collimation property of the light to further identify direct sunlight as well as correct alignment of the axis to receive a high amount of direct sunlight. The resulting photo-signal from each light analyzer can be collected and compared amongst the others to determine if the light source is direct sunlight. In one example, where the light is determined to be direct sunlight, position of a solar panel can be automatically adjusted, according to a position of the light through a ball lens and on a quadrant cell, so the sunlight is optimally aligned with the axis of the quadrant cells.
  • To the accomplishment of the foregoing and related ends, certain illustrative aspects are described herein in connection with the following description and the annexed drawings. These aspects are indicative of various ways which can be practiced, all of which are intended to be covered herein. Other advantages and novel features may become apparent from the following detailed description when considered in conjunction with the drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 illustrates a block diagram of an exemplary system that facilitates tracking and positioning a device into direct sunlight.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates a block diagram of an exemplary system that facilitates tracking position of the sun.
  • FIG. 3 illustrates a block diagram of an exemplary system that facilitates tracking the sun and appropriately positioning solar cells.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates a block diagram of an exemplary system that facilitates remotely positioning solar cells based on sun position tracking.
  • FIG. 5 illustrates an exemplary system that facilitates optimally aligning solar cells based on a position of direct sunlight.
  • FIG. 6 illustrates an exemplary flow chart for determining polarization of a light source.
  • FIG. 7 illustrates an exemplary flow chart for determining whether a light source is direct sunlight.
  • FIG. 8 illustrates an exemplary flow chart for positioning solar cells to optimally receive direct sunlight.
  • FIG. 9 is a schematic block diagram illustrating a sample processing environment.
  • FIG. 10 is a schematic block diagram of a sample computing environment.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Tracking sun position by optimally analyzing sunlight is provided where direct sunlight can be substantially distinguished from other light sources, such as sunlight reflections off certain objects, lasers, and/or the like. In particular, the direct sunlight can be identified according to its non-polarization, collimated property, light frequency, and/or the like. Once the direct sunlight is detected, in one example, solar cells can be automatically adjusted to receive the sunlight in an optimal alignment allowing highly efficient harnessing of maximal solar energy while avoiding alignment with other weaker light sources. The solar cells can be adjusted individually, as part of a panel of cells, and/or the like, for example.
  • According to an example, solar panels can be equipped with components to differentiate and concentrate in on sunlight. For example, one or more polarizers can be provided and positioned such that a light source can be evaluated to determine polarization thereof. As direct sunlight is substantially not polarized, similar radiation levels measured across the polarizers can indicate a direct sunlight source. Moreover, spectral filters can be included to filter out light having merely a substantially different color spectrum as the sun, such as green lasers, red lasers, and/or the like. In addition, a ball lens and quadrant cell can be provided where the light source passes through the ball lens and onto a quadrant cell; the size of a focal point on the quadrant cell can be utilized to determine collimation of the light. If the light is collimated beyond a threshold, it can be determined as direct sunlight. In this case, the ball lens and quadrant cell can further determine optimal positioning for the cell to receive a maximal amount of sunlight based at least in part on a position of the focal point on the quadrant cells. Thus, the solar cells can be automatically adjusted to receive direct sunlight without confusion of disparate light sources.
  • Various aspects of the subject disclosure are now described with reference to the annexed drawings, wherein like numerals refer to like or corresponding elements throughout. It should be understood, however, that the drawings and detailed description relating thereto are not intended to limit the claimed subject matter to the particular form disclosed. Rather, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the claimed subject matter.
  • Now turning to the figures, FIG. 1 illustrates a system 100 that facilitates tracking sunlight for optimally aligning a device based on the position of the sunlight. A sunlight tracking component 102 is provided to determine if light received is direct sunlight or light from another source and can track the direct sunlight based on the determination. Additionally, a positioning component 104 is provided that can align a device according to the sunlight position. In one example, the device can comprise one or more solar cells (or panels of solar cells), which can be optimally aligned with respect to the direct sunlight to receive a substantially maximal amount of light for conversion into electricity via photovoltaic technology, for example. According to an example, the sunlight tracking component 102 can track the sunlight and convey positioning information to the positioning component 104 so that the device can be optimally positioned (e.g., the solar cells can be moved into a desirable position to receive substantially optimal direct sunlight).
  • In one example, the sunlight tracking component 102 can evaluate a plurality of light sources to determine which source is direct sunlight. This can include receiving the light through multiple polarizers angled such that polarized light can yield different results at each polarizer whereas non-polarized light, such as direct sunlight, can yield substantially the same result at the polarizers. Moreover, according to an example, the sunlight tracking component 102 can differentiate light sources based on wavelength, which can provide exclusion of lasers or other light sources distinguishable in this regard. In addition, the filter can provide attenuation in substantially all wavelengths such that when combined an amplifier, sunlight can be detected based at least in part on strength of the lights source. Additionally, the sunlight tracking component 102 can determine a collimation property of the light source to determine whether the light is direct sunlight. Furthermore, the sunlight tracking component 102 can evaluate the alignment of one or more devices, with respect to the axis of the light source thereon, to determine movement required to optimally align the device with the determined direct sunlight, in one example.
  • Subsequently, the position information can be conveyed to the positioning component 104, which can control one or more axial positions of a device (e.g., a solar cell or one or more panels of cells). In this regard, upon receiving the location information from the sunlight tracking component 102, the positioning component 104 can move the device and/or an apparatus on which the device is mounted to align the axis of the direct sunlight in an optimal position with respect to the device. The sunlight tracking component 102 can analyze the direct sunlight on a timer, or it can follow the sunlight as it moves by constantly determining the optimal alignment with respect to the light axis. In addition, the sunlight tracking component 102 can be configured as part of a solar cell or panel of cells (e.g., behind or within one or more cells or affixed/mounted to the panel or an associated apparatus). In this regard, the sunlight tracking component 102 can move with the cells to evaluate the optimal position as the positioning component 104 moves the cells and sunlight tracking component 102. In another example, the sunlight tracking component 102 can be at a separate location than the cells and can convey accurate positioning information to the positioning component 104, which can appropriately position the cells.
  • Referring to FIG. 2, an example system 200 for tracking position of the sun with respect to deviation from an axis of one or more related solar cells or substantially any apparatus is displayed. A sunlight tracking component 102 is described that can track position of direct sunlight using a plurality of light analyzing components 204 that can approximate a light source based at least in part on one or more measurements related to the light source. The sunlight tracking component 102 can comprise the multiple light analyzing components 204 to provide redundancy as well as to analyze a light source from disparate perspectives. In one example, as described, the sunlight tracking component 102 can identify direct sunlight as it is positioned on various light sources and accordingly deliver information regarding positioning one or more solar cells to receive the direct sunlight at an optimal axis. Though the sunlight tracking component 102 is shown as having 3 light analyzing components 204, it is to be appreciated that more or less light analyzing components 204 can be utilized in one example. Additionally, the light analyzing component(s) 204 utilized can comprise one or more of the components shown and described as a part of the light analyzing component 204, or can share such components among light analyzing components 204, in one example.
  • Each light analyzing component 204 includes a polarizer 206 that can polarize a received light source, at which point a received radiation level from the polarizer 206 can be measured. For each light analyzing component 204, the polarizers 206 can be configured at disparate angles. In an example having 3 light analyzing components 204, and thus 3 polarizers 206, the polarizers can be configured at substantially 120 degree angle offsets. In this regard, radiation measurements from each polarizer 206 receiving light from the same source can be evaluated. Where a light source is at least somewhat polarized, once received by the polarizers 206, the radiation levels of the resulting beam can differ at each polarizer 206 indicating a somewhat polarized light source. Conversely, where a light source is substantially non-polarized, the resulting radiation levels subsequent to passing through differently angled polarizers 206 can be substantially similar. In this way, since direct sunlight is substantially non-polarized, it can be detected over polarized light sources, such as sunlight reflected off many surfaces including clouds or other light sources, for example. It is to be appreciated that the radiation level can be measured once the light passes to lower layers of the light analyzing component 204 by a processor (not shown) and/or the like to determine the levels and differences therebetween.
  • In addition, the light analyzing components 204 can include spectral filters 208 to filter out light sources of substantially disparate or more focused wavelength than direct sunlight. For example, the spectral filters 208 can pass light having wavelengths between approximately 560 nanometer (nm) to 600 nm. Thus, most laser radiation (e.g., commonly used 525 nm green and 635 nm red lasers) can be substantially rejected at the spectral filters 208 whereas a majority of a direct sunlight source can still pass. This can prevent tampering with a collection of solar cells as well as locking on to a weak and/or intermittent light source. Light sources passing through the spectral filter 208 can be received by a ball lens 210 that can concentrate the light onto quadrant cells 212. A somewhat collimated light source, such as direct sunlight, can come to a focus behind the ball lens 210 on the quadrant cells 212 at a point less than a threshold. Thus, this can be another indication of direct sunlight according to the level of collimation measured by the size of the focused point where diffuse light sources, indicated by a larger or more than one focused point, for example, can be rejected. It is to be appreciated that other types of curved lenses can be utilized in this regard as well.
  • In addition, the quadrant cells 212 can provide an indication of axial alignment of the light analyzing component 204 (and thus solar cells or substantially any device or apparatus associated with the sunlight tracking component 102) with respect to the position of the focused point on the quadrant cells 212 from the light passing through the ball lens 210. For example, the angle at which the light shines on the light analyzing components 204 can be determined as it passes through the ball lens 210 and comes to a point on the quadrant cells 212. The point on the quadrant cells 212 can indicate the angle and can be used to determine a direction and movement required to receive the light at an optimal angle. Additionally, an amplifier 214 is provided at each light analyzing component 204 to receive a photo-signal comprising the relevant information from the light as described.
  • In addition, light sources can be rejected based at least in part on brightness. This can be accomplished, for example, using the spectral filter 208 to provide significant attenuation if substantially all wavelengths; this together with gain from the amplifier 214 can be utilized to determine a brightness of the source. Light sources below a specified threshold can be rejected. Also, a time variation in the light intensity (e.g., a modulation of the light source) can be measured. It is to be appreciated that direct sunlight is substantially not modulated, and sources indicating some modulation can be rejected in this regard as well.
  • As mentioned above, the inferred parameters and information can be conveyed to a processor (not shown) for processing and determination of source of the light, whether the associated solar cell, device, or apparatus needs repositioning according to the point on the quadrant cells 212, and/or the like. The information can be conveyed to the processor by the amplifier 214, in one example. In this regard, direct sunlight can be differentiated from disparate light sources based on the above parameters procured by the light analyzing component 204 resulting in optimal positioning of solar cells to receive substantially maximal solar energy.
  • Turning now to FIG. 3, an example system 300 is displayed for determining a position of the sun and tracking the position to ensure optimal alignment of one or more solar cells. A sunlight tracking component 102 is provided to determine a position of direct sunlight while ignoring other light sources, as described, as well as a solar cell positioning component 302 that can position one or more solar cells or panels of cells to optimally receive direct sunlight, and a clock component 304 that can provide an approximate sunlight location based at least in part on the time of day and/or time of year, for example. It is to be appreciated that the sunlight tracking component 102 can be configured within one or more solar cells, affixed to or near the solar cells or representative panel, positioned on a device that axially controls position of the cells/panel, and/or the like, for example.
  • According to an example, the solar cell positioning component 302 can initially position a solar cell, set of cells, and/or an apparatus comprising one or more cells to an approximate position of sunlight based at least in part on the clock component 304. In this regard, the clock component 304 can store information regarding positions of the sun at different times of day throughout a month, season, year, collection of years, and/or the like. This information can be obtained from a variety of sources including fixed or manually programmed within the clock component 304, provided externally or remotely to the clock component 304, inferred by the clock component 304 from previous readings of the sunlight tracking component 102, and/or the like. In this regard, the clock component 304 can approximate a position of the sunlight at a given point in time, and the solar cell positioning component 302 can move the cell or cells according to that position.
  • Subsequently, the sunlight tracking component 102 can be utilized to fine-tune the position of the cells as described above. Specifically, once approximately positioned, the sunlight tracking component 102 can differentiate between the supposed direct sunlight and sunlight reflected from disparate objects, including clouds, buildings, other obstructions, and/or the like. The sunlight tracking component 102 can accomplish this differentiation utilizing the components and processing described above, including determining a polarization of the light source, inferring a collimation property of the light source, measuring a brightness or strength of the light source, discerning a level of modulation (or non-modulation) of the source, filtering out certain wavelength colors, and/or the like. Moreover, the ball lens and quadrant cell configuration described above can be utilized to determine an axial movement required to ensure a substantially direct axis of light to the cells. It is to be appreciated that the clock component 304 can be used to initially configure the cell positions. In another example, the cells can be inactive during nocturnal hours and the clock component 304 can be utilized to position the cells at sunrise. Moreover, in the case of significant obstruction, where there can be substantially no direct sunlight for the sunlight tracking component 102 to detect, the clock component 304 can be utilized to follow the predicted path of the sun until sunlight is available for detection by the sunlight tracking component 102, etc. In this example, where there is disparity in the clock component 304 prediction of the sun and the sunlight tracking component 102 actual determination and measurement, the disparity can be taken into account by the clock component 304 to ensure more accurate operation when its utilization is desired.
  • Turning now to FIG. 4, an example system 400 for tracking sunlight and positioning remote devices to receive the optimal amount of light is illustrated. A sunlight tracking component 102 is provided for determining a position of the sun based on differentiating the sun light source from other light sources. Additionally, a sunlight information transmitting component 402 is provided to transmit information from the sunlight tracking component 102 regarding precise position of the sunlight as well as solar cell positioning component 302 that can position one or more solar cells based at least in part on information from the sunlight information transmitting component 402 sent over the network 404.
  • In this example, the sunlight tracking component 102 can be disparately located from the solar cells; however, based at least in part on known positions of the sunlight tracking component 102 and the cells, accurate information can be provided to position the remotely located cells. For example, the sunlight tracking component 102 can determine a substantially accurate position of the sun based on distinguishing direct sunlight from other sources of light as described above. In particular, light from different sources can be measured based at least in part on polarization, collimation, intensity, modulation, and/or wavelength to narrow the sources down to possible direct sunlight as described. In addition, optimal alignment on the axis of the light can be determined for maximal light utilization using the ball lens and quadrant cells. Once precise locations are determined, the sunlight tracking component 102 can convey the information to the sunlight information transmitting component 402.
  • Upon receiving the precise alignment information, the sunlight information transmitting component 402 can send the information to the remotely located solar cell positioning component 302, over network 404, to axially position a set of solar cells to receive substantially maximal direct sunlight. In particular, the solar cell positioning component 302 can receive the precise alignment information, account for difference in location between one or more solar cells/panels and the sunlight tracking component 102, and optimally align the cells/panels to receive optimal sunlight for photovoltaic energy conversion. It is to be appreciated that difference in position between the sunlight tracking component 102 and the cells can affect the relative position of the sun at each location. Thus, disparity can be calculated according to the difference in location (e.g., location determined using global positioning system (GPS) and/or the like). In another example, the disparity can be measured upon installation of the solar cells and/or the sunlight tracking component 102 and be a fixed calculation performed upon receiving the precise sun location information.
  • Referring to FIG. 5, an example system 500 is shown for locking a solar cell configuration onto direct sunlight to facilitate optimal photovoltaic energy generation. In particular, an axially rotatable apparatus 502 is provided, which can comprise one or more solar cells or panels of cells as well as an attached sunlight tracking component 102 as described herein. In one example, the axially rotatable apparatus 502 can be one of a field of similar apparatuses desiring to receive direct sunlight. In this example, the sunlight tracking component 102 can be affixed to each axially rotatable apparatus 502 or there can be a sunlight tracking component that operates a plurality of axially rotatable apparatuses in the field (and can be separate or attached to a single apparatus of the plurality in this regard), for example.
  • As shown, the axially rotatable apparatus 502 can be positioned to receive an optimal axis of direct sunlight 504. The sunlight tracking component 102 can detect the direct sunlight 504 to this end as described supra, and a positioning component (not shown) can rotate the axially rotatable apparatus 502 according to an indicated position of the optimal axis of direct sunlight. As mentioned, the sunlight tracking component 102 can evaluate various sources of light in proximity to the direct sunlight, such as reflective light 506 and/or laser 508, to determine which source is direct sunlight 504. As described, the axially rotatable apparatus 502 can move among the light sources, thus similarly moving the sunlight tracking component 102, allowing the sunlight tracking component 102 to analyze the light sources determining which is direct sunlight 504.
  • For example, the sunlight tracking component 102 can receive light from one of the shown reflective light 506 sources and determine whether to align the cells to optimally receive the reflective light 506. However, the sunlight tracking component 506 can determine the reflective light 506 source is, indeed, reflective light, as described, by evaluating radiation levels upon polarization by a plurality of differently angled polarizers. The levels can differ at a level indicating the light is polarized and thus not direct sunlight; the sunlight tracking component 102 can instruct a positioning component to move the axially rotatable apparatus 502 to another light source for evaluation. In another example, the sunlight tracking component 102 can receive light from the laser 508, but can indicate the laser light is not direct sunlight as it can be substantially filtered out by a spectral filter as described. Thus, the sunlight tracking component 102 can instruct to move the axially rotatable apparatus 502 to another light source.
  • In another example, the sunlight tracking component 102 can receive light from the direct sunlight 504 source and distinguish this light as direct sunlight. As described, this can occur by processing radiation levels for the light upon polarization by the aforementioned polarizers, which can indicate similar radiation levels. Thus, the sunlight tracking component 102 can determine the light source is substantially non-polarized, like direct sunlight; if the sunlight passes through the spectral filter, the sunlight tracking component 102 can determine the light 504 is direct sunlight. Subsequently, as described, the sunlight tracking component 102 can utilize a ball lens and quadrant cell configuration to determine a collimation of the light source to ensure it is direct sunlight. The sunlight tracking component 102 can additionally determine intensity of the light source using the spectral filter to provide significant attenuation for substantially all wavelengths that can be measured with a gain from an amplifier receiving the photo-signal. The resulting signal can be compared to a threshold to determine a requisite intensity for sunlight. Moreover, the modulation of the photo-signal can be measured to determine time variation; where the light is substantially non-modulated, this can be another indication of direct sunlight. In addition, the ball lens and quadrant cell configuration can be used, as described, to optimally angle the axially rotatable apparatus 502 to align on the axis of the direct sunlight 504.
  • The aforementioned systems, architectures and the like have been described with respect to interaction between several components. It should be appreciated that such systems and components can include those components or sub-components specified therein, some of the specified components or sub-components, and/or additional components. Sub-components could also be implemented as components communicatively coupled to other components rather than included within parent components. Further yet, one or more components and/or sub-components may be combined into a single component to provide aggregate functionality. Communication between systems, components and/or sub-components can be accomplished in accordance with either a push and/or pull model. The components may also interact with one or more other components not specifically described herein for the sake of brevity, but known by those of skill in the art.
  • Furthermore, as will be appreciated, various portions of the disclosed systems and methods may include or consist of artificial intelligence, machine learning, or knowledge or rule based components, sub-components, processes, means, methodologies, or mechanisms (e.g., support vector machines, neural networks, expert systems, Bayesian belief networks, fuzzy logic, data fusion engines, classifiers . . . ). Such components, inter alia, can automate certain mechanisms or processes performed thereby to make portions of the systems and methods more adaptive as well as efficient and intelligent, for instance by inferring actions based on contextual information. By way of example and not limitation, such mechanism can be employed with respect to generation of materialized views and the like.
  • In view of the exemplary systems described supra, methodologies that may be implemented in accordance with the disclosed subject matter will be better appreciated with reference to the flow charts of FIGS. 6-8. While for purposes of simplicity of explanation, the methodologies are shown and described as a series of blocks, it is to be understood and appreciated that the claimed subject matter is not limited by the order of the blocks, as some blocks may occur in different orders and/or concurrently with other blocks from what is depicted and described herein. Moreover, not all illustrated blocks may be required to implement the methodologies described hereinafter.
  • FIG. 6 shows a methodology 600 for determining polarization of a light source to partially infer whether the light is direct sunlight. It is to be appreciated that additional measures can be taken, as described herein, to decide the source of the light. At 602, light is received from a source; the source can include sunlight (e.g., direct or reflected from clouds, structures, etc.), lasers, and/or similar concentrated sources. At 604, the light is passed through differently angled polarizers. As described, varying the angle of the polarizers can render disparate resulting light beams over the polarizers where the original light is polarized. Thus, at 606, a radiation level can be measured after polarization at each polarizer. The various measurements can be compared, and at 608, the polarization of the original light from the source can be determined. As described, where the compared measurements differ beyond a threshold, it can be determined that the original light was polarized; however, where there is not much difference between the measurements, the original light can be non-polarized. Since direct sunlight is substantially non-polarized, this determination can indicate whether the original light is direct sunlight.
  • FIG. 7 illustrates a methodology 700 that further facilitates determining whether light received from a source is direct sunlight. At 702, the light is received from the source. As described, the source can include direct or indirect sunlight, lasers, and/or the like. Additionally, at 704, the polarization of the light can be determined as described previously. Subsequently, at 706, the light can be passed through a wavelength filter that rejects portions of light sources that are not within a specified wavelength. For example, the wavelength filter can be such that it rejects lights not in a range utilized by sunlight. The filter, thus, can reject some laser lights (e.g., red and green lasers in one example) and only pass light that is in the range. In addition, the filter can provide significant attenuation in substantially all wavelengths. This can be taken, together, with gain of the resulting photo-signal, to indicate an intensity of the light source that can additionally be utilized to determine if the source is direct sunlight. At 708, it can be determined whether the light is direct sunlight; for example, this can be based at least in part on whether the light passed through the filter as well as the determined polarization. As described, where the light is not polarized, there is a possibility that it is direct sunlight as many reflected sunlight sources (e.g., deflected from clouds, structures, and the like) are polarized. Furthermore, the wavelength filter can provide further assurance of direct sunlight if the light is substantially within the correct wavelength.
  • FIG. 8 shows a methodology 800 for aiming solar cells to receive an optimally aligned axis of light for generating solar energy. At 802, light is received from a source. As described, this light can come from many sources, and at 804, it can be determined whether the light is direct sunlight. In this regard, other light sources, such as reflected light, lasers, etc. can be rejected as described herein. For example, a variety of polarizers, spectral filters, and/or the like can be utilized to reject unwanted light sources. This can be based at least in part on determining a polarization level of the light, a collimation of the light (e.g., via measuring a size of a focal point on a quadrant cell of the light passing through a ball lens), an intensity of the light (e.g., measured by gain from an amplifier receiving the light), a spectrum of the light (e.g., measured through a spectral filter), a modulation of the light, and/or the like as described. At 806, an optimal axial alignment is determined to receive the direct sunlight. This can be determined, as described, using a ball lens and quadrant cell configuration, for example, to focus a point from the light on the quadrant cell. The light can shine on the ball lens, which reflects the light as one or more points on the quadrant cell. Alignment can be adjusted based on position of the point on the quadrant cell. At 808, one or more solar cells can be positioned according to the axial alignment. Thus, direct sunlight can be detected, and solar cells can be positioned optimally on the axis of the sunlight to receive a maximal energy for photovoltaic conversion, in one example.
  • As used herein, the terms “component,” “system” and the like are intended to refer to a computer-related entity, either hardware, a combination of hardware and software, software, or software in execution. For example, a component may be, but is not limited to being, a process running on a processor, a processor, an object, an instance, an executable, a thread of execution, a program, and/or a computer. By way of illustration, both an application running on a computer and the computer can be a component. One or more components may reside within a process and/or thread of execution and a component may be localized on one computer and/or distributed between two or more computers.
  • The word “exemplary” is used herein to mean serving as an example, instance or illustration. Any aspect or design described herein as “exemplary” is not necessarily to be construed as preferred or advantageous over other aspects or designs. Furthermore, examples are provided solely for purposes of clarity and understanding and are not meant to limit the subject innovation or relevant portion thereof in any manner. It is to be appreciated that a myriad of additional or alternate examples could have been presented, but have been omitted for purposes of brevity.
  • Furthermore, all or portions of the subject innovation may be implemented as a method, apparatus or article of manufacture using standard programming and/or engineering techniques to produce software, firmware, hardware, or any combination thereof to control a computer to implement the disclosed innovation. The term “article of manufacture” as used herein is intended to encompass a computer program accessible from any computer-readable device or media. For example, computer readable media can include but are not limited to magnetic storage devices (e.g., hard disk, floppy disk, magnetic strips . . . ), optical disks (e.g., compact disk (CD), digital versatile disk (DVD) . . . ), smart cards, and flash memory devices (e.g., card, stick, key drive . . . ). Additionally it should be appreciated that a carrier wave can be employed to carry computer-readable electronic data such as those used in transmitting and receiving electronic mail or in accessing a network such as the Internet or a local area network (LAN). Of course, those skilled in the art will recognize many modifications may be made to this configuration without departing from the scope or spirit of the claimed subject matter.
  • In order to provide a context for the various aspects of the disclosed subject matter, FIGS. 9 and 10 as well as the following discussion are intended to provide a brief, general description of a suitable environment in which the various aspects of the disclosed subject matter may be implemented. While the subject matter has been described above in the general context of computer-executable instructions of a program that runs on one or more computers, those skilled in the art will recognize that the subject innovation also may be implemented in combination with other program modules. Generally, program modules include routines, programs, components, data structures, etc. that perform particular tasks and/or implement particular abstract data types. Moreover, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the systems/methods may be practiced with other computer system configurations, including single-processor, multiprocessor or multi-core processor computer systems, mini-computing devices, mainframe computers, as well as personal computers, hand-held computing devices (e.g., personal digital assistant (PDA), phone, watch . . . ), microprocessor-based or programmable consumer or industrial electronics, and the like. The illustrated aspects may also be practiced in distributed computing environments where tasks are performed by remote processing devices that are linked through a communications network. However, some, if not all aspects of the claimed subject matter can be practiced on stand-alone computers. In a distributed computing environment, program modules may be located in both local and remote memory storage devices.
  • With reference to FIG. 9, an exemplary environment 900 for implementing various aspects disclosed herein includes a computer 912 (e.g., desktop, laptop, server, hand held, programmable consumer or industrial electronics . . . ). The computer 912 includes a processing unit 914, a system memory 916 and a system bus 918. The system bus 918 couples system components including, but not limited to, the system memory 916 to the processing unit 914. The processing unit 914 can be any of various available microprocessors. It is to be appreciated that dual microprocessors, multi-core and other multiprocessor architectures can be employed as the processing unit 914.
  • The system memory 916 includes volatile and nonvolatile memory. The basic input/output system (BIOS), containing the basic routines to transfer information between elements within the computer 912, such as during start-up, is stored in nonvolatile memory. By way of illustration, and not limitation, nonvolatile memory can include read only memory (ROM). Volatile memory includes random access memory (RAM), which can act as external cache memory to facilitate processing.
  • Computer 912 also includes removable/non-removable, volatile/non-volatile computer storage media. FIG. 9 illustrates, for example, mass storage 924. Mass storage 924 includes, but is not limited to, devices like a magnetic or optical disk drive, floppy disk drive, flash memory or memory stick. In addition, mass storage 924 can include storage media separately or in combination with other storage media.
  • FIG. 9 provides software application(s) 928 that act as an intermediary between users and/or other computers and the basic computer resources described in suitable operating environment 900. Such software application(s) 928 include one or both of system and application software. System software can include an operating system, which can be stored on mass storage 924, that acts to control and allocate resources of the computer system 912. Application software takes advantage of the management of resources by system software through program modules and data stored on either or both of system memory 916 and mass storage 924.
  • The computer 912 also includes one or more interface components 926 that are communicatively coupled to the bus 918 and facilitate interaction with the computer 912. By way of example, the interface component 926 can be a port (e.g., serial, parallel, PCMCIA, USB, FireWire . . . ) or an interface card (e.g., sound, video, network . . . ) or the like. The interface component 926 can receive input and provide output (wired or wirelessly). For instance, input can be received from devices including but not limited to, a pointing device such as a mouse, trackball, stylus, touch pad, keyboard, microphone, joystick, game pad, satellite dish, scanner, camera, other computer and the like. Output can also be supplied by the computer 912 to output device(s) via interface component 926. Output devices can include displays (e.g., CRT, LCD, plasma . . . ), speakers, printers and other computers, among other things.
  • According to an example, the processing unit(s) 914 can comprise or receive instructions related to determining existence of direct sunlight from one or more polarization or spectral filter outputs, for example. It is to be appreciated that the system memory 916 can additionally or alternatively house such instructions and the processing unit(s) 914 can be utilized to process the instructions. Moreover, the system memory 916 can retain and/or the processing unit(s) 914 can comprise instructions to effectuate updating of the directory objects to ensure replication with one or more additional operating environments, for example.
  • FIG. 10 is a schematic block diagram of a sample-computing environment 1000 with which the subject innovation can interact. The system 1000 includes one or more client(s) 1010. The client(s) 1010 can be hardware and/or software (e.g., threads, processes, computing devices). The system 1000 also includes one or more server(s) 1030. Thus, system 1000 can correspond to a two-tier client server model or a multi-tier model (e.g., client, middle tier server, data server), amongst other models. The server(s) 1030 can also be hardware and/or software (e.g., threads, processes, computing devices). The servers 1030 can house threads to perform transformations by employing the aspects of the subject innovation, for example. One possible communication between a client 1010 and a server 1030 may be in the form of a data packet transmitted between two or more computer processes.
  • The system 1000 includes a communication framework 1050 that can be employed to facilitate communications between the client(s) 1010 and the server(s) 1030. Here, the client(s) 1010 can correspond to program application components and the server(s) 1030 can provide the functionality of the interface and optionally the storage system, as previously described. The client(s) 1010 are operatively connected to one or more client data store(s) 1060 that can be employed to store information local to the client(s) 1010. Similarly, the server(s) 1030 are operatively connected to one or more server data store(s) 1040 that can be employed to store information local to the servers 1030.
  • By way of example, one or more clients 1010 can determine sun tracking position data and transmit the data to server(s) 1030 via communication framework 1050. This can be utilized, in one example, to store data in the server data store(s) 1040 regarding position of the sun throughout a given period of time (e.g., day, month, year, or a collection of substantially any time measurement). The data can subsequently be recalled by one or more disparate client(s) 1010, in one example, such as a solar cell positioning device to set a general direction for one or more solar cells based on the time measurement.
  • What has been described above includes examples of aspects of the claimed subject matter. It is, of course, not possible to describe every conceivable combination of components or methodologies for purposes of describing the claimed subject matter, but one of ordinary skill in the art may recognize that many further combinations and permutations of the disclosed subject matter are possible. Accordingly, the disclosed subject matter is intended to embrace all such alterations, modifications and variations that fall within the spirit and scope of the appended claims. Furthermore, to the extent that the terms “includes,” “has” or “having” or variations in form thereof are used in either the detailed description or the claims, such terms are intended to be inclusive in a manner similar to the term “comprising” as “comprising” is interpreted when employed as a transitional word in a claim.

Claims (20)

1. A system for tracking the position of the sun to determine optimal positioning for direct sunlight, comprising:
a sunlight tracking component that distinguishes at least one light source as direct sunlight based at least in part on determining a collimation of the light source; and
a positioning component that modifies a position of a device associated with the sunlight tracking component based at least in part on a position of the light source distinguished as direct sunlight.
2. The system of claim 1, the sunlight tracking component comprises a ball lens that receives the light source and reflects the light source onto one or more quadrant cells, the collimation of the light source is determined at least in part by measuring a size of a focus point of the light source reflected on the one or more quadrant cells.
3. The system of claim 2, the positioning component modifies the position of the device based at least in part on a location of the focus point on the one or more quadrant cells.
4. The system of claim 1, the sunlight tracking component further distinguishes the light source as direct sunlight at least in part by measuring a wavelength and a level of polarization of the light source.
5. The system of claim 4, the sunlight tracking component comprises at least one filter that determines an intensity and/or spectrum of the wavelength of the light source based at least in part on rejecting passing of light outside of a range utilized by direct sunlight.
6. The system of claim 4, the sunlight tracking component comprises a plurality of differently angled polarizers that determine the level of polarization of the light source based at least in part on measuring a radiation level of the light source after passing through the each of the plurality of polarizers.
7. The system of claim 6, the measured radiation levels of the light source at each of the plurality of polarizers are similar indicating the level of polarization to distinguish the light source as direct sunlight.
8. The system of claim 4, the sunlight tracking component further distinguishes the light source as direct sunlight based at least in part on determining a lack of substantial modulation.
9. The system of claim 1, further comprising a clock component from which the position of a device associated with the sunlight tracking component is initially set according to a predicted position of the direct sunlight.
10. A method for determining an optimal position of direct sunlight, comprising:
determining a collimation of a light source at least in part by measuring a focus point of a reflection of the light source through a ball lens;
distinguishing the light source as direct sunlight based at least in part on a size of the focus point; and
determining an optimal position for receiving the direct sunlight based at least in part on a position of the focus point on a quadrant cell.
11. The method of claim 10, further comprising aligning one or more solar cells or solar cell panels based at least in part on the determined optimal position for receiving direct sunlight.
12. The method of claim 10, further comprising determining polarization level of the light source to further distinguish the light source as direct sunlight at least in part by measuring radiation levels of the light source through a plurality of differently angled polarizers.
13. The method of claim 12, the polarization level is low where the radiation levels from the plurality of differently angled polarizers are similar.
14. The method of claim 10, further comprising allowing passage of light from the light source having a similar wavelength in a range utilized by sunlight through the spectral filter while rejecting passage of light from the light source having a wavelength outside of the range.
15. The method of claim 14, further comprising measuring an intensity and/or spectrum of the light from the light source passing through the spectral filter to further distinguish the light source as direct sunlight.
16. The method of claim 10, further comprising determining a collimation of a disparate light source at least in part by measuring a disparate focus point of a reflection of the disparate light source through the ball lens.
17. The method of claim 16, further comprising determining the disparate light source as diffuse where the size of the disparate focus point is greater than a threshold size.
18. The method of claim 17, further comprising and rejecting the disparate light source based at least in part on determining the light source as diffuse.
19. A system for tracking position of the sun, comprising:
means for detecting direct sunlight from one or more light sources based at least in part on a measured collimation of the one or more light sources determined from a size of a focus point of the light source received through a lens; and
means for determining an optimal axial position for receiving the detected direct sunlight based at least on part on a position of the focus point on one or more quadrant cells.
20. The system of claim 19, further comprising means for positioning one or more solar cells or solar cell panels on one or more optimum axes based at least in part on the determined optimal axial position for receiving the detected direct sunlight.
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CN2012105939178A CN103104991A (en) 2008-07-03 2009-07-02 Solar collector assembly
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AU2009266870A AU2009266870A1 (en) 2008-07-03 2009-07-02 Solar collector assembly
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