POSITAL position sensors improve solar energy output

POSITAL position sensors improve solar energy output

March 16, 2011 – Photovoltaic cells are most effective in converting solar energy to electricity when they are aimed directly at the sun. For this reason, advanced solar power installations often include tracking systems that move the solar arrays so that they follow the sun as it moves across the sky. Single axis systems follow the daily movement of the sun from east to west, while more sophisticated two-axis systems also follow seasonal changes in the elevation of the sun above the horizon.

For high-temperature solar-thermal systems, where an array of parabolic mirrors focuses the sun’s energy on a collector (boiler), accurate tracking systems are even more important. With these installations, the mirrors are required to reflect the sunlight directly towards the mirror and a small aiming error could sharply reduce the overall effectiveness of the system.

POSITAL's OPTOCODE (OCD) rotary encoders and ACCELENS (ACS) inclinometers, play an important role in these tracking systems, providing the controller with instantaneous information on the exact orien-tation of the solar panel array. Accurate, reliable and weatherproof, POSITAL sensors are available with instrument interfaces that connect easily to most programmable logic controllers (PLC’s).

FRABA Inc. is the North American sister company of Germany-based FRABA AG, a group of enterprises focused on providing advanced products for position sensing and motion control in many sectors and applications. Business units within the FRABA group include POSITAL (rotary encoders and inclinometers), VITECTOR (safety assurance equipment), and INTACTON (optical motion sensors).