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Development of a Solar Panel Controller to Overcome the Shadowing Issue

About the Customer:

Our customer is a pioneer in the energy delivery systems and one of the largest clean energy companies globally.

They are one of the most trusted providers of energy from sources that include traditional and renewables (Clean Energy), Gas, and Steam.

Business Challenge:

Our customer had envisioned a digital transformation initiative for one of their existing Solar Power Plants.

As part of this digitization project, our customer aimed to integrate IoT Technology Stack in order to increase the efficiency of the energy harvesting capacity of their Solar Power Plant.

The objective of this initiative was to overcome the following challenges:

  • Customer was facing a major shadowing issue in which the shadows from adjacent solar panels were falling on each other and negatively impacting the solar energy harvest from each panel. Each solar panel was massive in size and hence, the shadow that was falling on adjacent panels was huge.
  • How to best leverage the IoT System (sensors, algorithms & feedback mechanisms) to control the movement of the solar panels in order to efficiently follow the trajectory of the Sun, throughout the day.

The customer had existing hardware solutions in order to address these challenges, but they were not cost-effective and efficient.

Instead, the customer wanted to adopt a software driven and more efficient solution. This made them initiate a search for a Product Engineering Services partner, with in-depth expertise in Embedded and IoT Software Stack.

Embitel’s Solution:

After in-depth understanding of our expertise and experience in development of IoT Powered Solar Tracking System; the customer decided to join hands with our IoT Software Development team.

The solution architecture that we proposed involved developing an add-on controller card, which can be easily integrated with the existing Solar Tracking System of our customer.

  • The solution architecture involved designing the add-on controller such that it served as an interface between the master controller and the IoT Gateway. The solution also included development of sensors to detect the shadow from the solar panels and make necessary corrections in the angle and position of the panel.
  • Our team also developed the embedded firmware drivers and application for the solution.

Embitel’s Impact:

The client was looking for a cost-effective solution (with optimized BOM), which can be easily integrated with their existing system. Leveraging our hardware and software expertise, we were successful in achieving the objectives of our customer.

The add-on controller and the modified Sun Positioning (SP) algorithm helped us to overcome the shadowing issue and improve the overall efficiency.

Tools & Technologies:

  • RS-485 Serial Communication Interface.
  • SP Algorithm.
  • Microcontroller: IC MCU 32Bit 2MB Flash.
  • Inclinometer: For angle and position.
  • Python for Application Development.
  • Eclipse for Microcontroller firmware development.

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