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SolarInterested

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Reply with quote  #1 
http://www.solardaily.com/reports/Improving_solar_cell_efficiency_with_a_bucket_of_water_999.html

Excerpt:
"We have created a frame using inexpensive materials that allows the solar panels to track the arc of the sun throughout the day," Parks said. "This approach could make solar energy more affordable to households and small businesses in the developing world."

In her design, a bucket of rocks is placed on the west side of the frame and a bucket of water is placed on the east side. Using a controlled leak from the water bucket, the weight shifts and the panel slowly rotates from east to west throughout the day.

Parks and her team tested the design on 20 random days in Uganda. The solar cell on the movable frame captured 30 percent more sunlight than the stationary solar cell at the same location.


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stmbtwle

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Reply with quote  #2 
Should work, if someone remembers to get up every morning and put water in the bucket. Won't happen here in the USA!
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Willie, Tampa Bay
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Reply with quote  #3 
Sounds like a solar powered gear motor on some type of timer.

Jim from IL
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Reply with quote  #4 
OK, I see posts #1 through #3 and you are talking about a solar tracker.  But I see nothing about what the solar tracker is.  Why am I missing a description of the solar tracker? 

I have seen this missing information in other posts.

Mike
stmbtwle

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Reply with quote  #5 
Most folks involved in solar already know, so there's no need to explain. Sort of why we don't explain what a "car" is (4 wheels, motor, carries passengers, etc). And there's always Google.

Anyway a solar tracker is a device which continuously orients toward the sun, so it's panels/collector/mirror operate more efficiently. Some actively sense where the sun is and follow it, others automatically move to where the sun is supposed to be.

Trackers have their downside. Being mechanical, they're expensive and require maintenance. Some feel it's more COST efficient to simply install more panels to a fixed (non-tracking) array.

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Willie, Tampa Bay
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Reply with quote  #6 
Apparently I missed the mark using the KISS principle in my post.  I am not uninitiated in solar principles as I have dabbled in it, reading and studying other sources besides this one.  I know what a solar tracker is and what it is suppose to do.

I agree solar trackers can be costly and require maintenance.  Now to get to what I am trying to understand.

Post #2:  "Should work, if someone remembers to get up every morning and put water in the bucket. Won't happen here in the USA! "

Someone is talking about putting water in a bucket.  I presume it is a solar tracking device that is water powered.  Yet there is no description of the device or reference to one at another web site.

Post #3:  "Sounds like a solar powered gear motor on some type of timer."

Here someone is talking about a solar powered motor and I presume it deals with a tracking device since this page is "Interesting Solar Tracker".  Again there is no diagram, picture or other reference to the device.

Do you understand my question?

Mike
Rick H Parker

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stmbtwle
Should work, if someone remembers to get up every morning and put water in the bucket. Won't happen here in the USA!


Won't happen in a lot of developing areas where water is not something you dump on  the ground.

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stmbtwle

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Reply with quote  #8 
And that would include a good part of Africa! However it doesn't have to be dumped on the ground, it can be drained into another bucket and re-used.

It might be possible to use sand instead of water. It wouldn't evaporate either.

Wind could be a problem.

Slightly off topic, but there's a thousand-year-old windmill in Iran. I wonder if it could spin an auto alternator?

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Willie, Tampa Bay
gaiatechnician

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Reply with quote  #9 
I tried to email the people from the test in Africa.  I did something on those lines about a decade ago.  I made it too complicated because it was for solar cooking and that requires super accurate tracking.  Tracking for a solar panel in the tropics is way easier than for a solar cooking reflector because it does not have to super accurately track the sun.     The principle is simple,  you have one bucket with water dripping out of it into the other bucket.  You have floats in the buckets that are attached near the center of the frame and as one float falls, and the other rises,  they rotate the panel.  A key thing is the floats are fairly tight fitting,  this prevents the wind from flipping the panel around because the wind's energy is absorbed in the water as turbulence as a float gets pulled by a gust of wind.  Mine is on equatorial mount (which complicates things at this latitude) so that the tracking is even paced. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=69FXae8DOlU  
handymanhdw

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Reply with quote  #10 
Sounds all too complicated for me to follow...  Great idea though, if it works! 
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