ASEE Zone 2 Conference 2017

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Introducing Sustainability to Secondary Level Students Using Automated Tracking Solar Arrays

Final Paper
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With the national push to develop STEM education programs and increase interest and performance levels of students, the need for alternative educational programs is growing. The goal of this work was to design and construct a small-scale solar array that could be used by high school students to both manually and automatically track the sun. Based on the results of both of these systems students would be introduced to the idea of creating an algorithm that could be used to optimize a system with regards to solar energy collection and thus understand the importance of STEM education. It should be noted that this experiment will be used in conjunction with a number of other small-scale projects that highlight several aspects of the zero plus energy building (more energy is converted to electric power than used) developed by the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. For ease of demonstration, separate manual and automatic trackers were designed for the experiment. Using a standard camera tripod, the solar panels were attached to fabricated mounts to allow for omnidirectional movement. For the automated, or active tracker, an Ardunio Uno microcontroller was used in conjunction with two 180 ĚŠ servos to position the active tracker into the optimum orientation for energy collection.


Kenly Ayres    
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
United States

Trevor Elliott    
Mechanical Engineeering
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
United States

Chuck Margraves    
Mechanical Engineering
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
United States


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