One aim of solar concentrators is to reduce the cost of a solar power systems by reducing the amount of expensive semiconductor used in exchange for optical concentrating components and tracking mechanics. Solar trackers rotate the solar panel or concentrator so that direct normal incidence is maintained throughout the day. As concentration increases, so does the required complexity and precision of the tracking mechanics. This increased precision results in a larger fraction of the total system cost in tracking. In this thesis I will present an alternative to large-scale two-axis mechanical trackers that relies on the unique geometry of the planar micro-optic solar concentrator.
The planar micro-optic solar concentrator  consists of a lens array mounted above a planar waveguide that has been patterned with reflective facets at the focal point of each lens. The facets reflect incoming light into guided modes of the waveguide towards edge-mounted photo-voltaic (PV) cells. This type of concentrator is compatible with traditional solar trackers but its unique geometry allows for more flexibility. By laterally translating the lens array with respect to the waveguide it is possible to couple off-axis light into the PV cell.
In this work I evaluate some different implementations of the planar micro-optic solar concentrator optimized for this type of tracking, discuss a designed and implemented mechanical tracking platform to house the concentrator, and cover the electrical control and feedback used to maintain alignment. I then present some measurements from the system demonstrating functional tracking.
|Advisor:||Ford, Joseph E.|
|Commitee:||Guest, Clark C., Papen, George C.|
|School:||University of California, San Diego|
|Department:||Electrical Engineering (Photonics)|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 50/01M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Alternative Energy, Electrical engineering, Robotics|
|Keywords:||Concentrator, Micro-lens, Micro-tracking, Photovoltaic, Solar, Waveguide|
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