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Title: One-Axis Tracking for Roof Mounted, Residential Solar
Authors: Nelsonwood, Nick
Advisors: Littman, Michael
Department: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Certificate Program: Applications of Computing Program
Class Year: 2019
Abstract: The solar industry is fast growing but one segment of the market that has seen little innovation in recent years is the residential, roof-mounted solar industry. Solar systems that track the sun have helped to greatly increase the yield of ground mounted systems, but the challenge is to bring this technology to flat plate collectors located on roofs. This thesis takes on this problem by making a mathematical model and then creating and testing a proof of concept for one-axis tracking on a roof. Both the mathematical and physical tests show that there is a 5-25% gain in solar energy collected by tracking panels depending on latitude, tracking system, roof type and more. This gain is large enough to make it worth further pursuing a roof-mounted solar system that tracks the sun. The gearbox and electronics designed for this thesis are sufficient for future use either in further testing or in DIY projects. Future work would need to consider various roof, latitude, and sun exposure combinations and design multiple systems in order to best capture energy in a wide variety of use cases.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, 1924-2019

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