Optimizing Solar Energy Efficiency through Automatic Solar Tracking Systems


In the midst of a fast changing global energy landscape, this work makes a significant addition to the field of renewable energy by examining and putting automated solar monitoring systems in place with the primary goal of maximising solar panel performance. This study’s primary contribution is the thorough examination of solar tracking technology that it does, which results in a greater understanding of the efficiency of energy production.. To ensure accuracy in sun tracking, this system makes use of Light Dependent Resistors (LDRs) as sensors. The subsequent schematic designs and PCB layouts for the main circuit, motor driver circuit, power supply circuit, and solar charger circuit all work together to enable real-time adjustments that best line solar panels with the sun. The tracking system is particularly noteworthy for its adept management of temperature control, which allows it to operate at lower temperatures (53.4°C) than static panels (59.5°C).

Keywords: Solar Energy, Photovoltaic Technology, Solar Tracking, Renewable Energy, Efficiency Enhancement


  1. Introduction

Ideally, there are considerable problems with our reliance on fossil fuels in the modern world for both residential and industrial purposes [1-3]. Environmental worries have been sparked by things like depleting oil reserves, toxic pollution, climate change, and acid rain. Consequently, there is a rising understanding of the necessity of switching to renewable energy sources. Solar, hydrogen fuel cells, and wind energy are a few types of renewable energy. Due to its cleanliness and accessibility, solar energy technology stands out as the most promising source of future energy supply. An essential energy source for the Earth is the sun. It continuously generates rays that are crucial for the survival of living things, particularly plants.. Each square meter of the Earth’s surface facing the sun receives approximately 1380 joules per second, which is equivalent to nearly 2 horsepower [4]. This energy transmission remains consistent, neglecting the absorption of energy by the atmosphere [5]. Solar panels, also known as photovoltaic (PV) systems, harness this solar energy and convert it into usable electricity. Over time, the adoption of solar power has been steadily increasing due to growing awareness among people about the benefits of renewable energy sources [6-8].

Additionally, the growing interest in solar energy reflects the global shift towards more environmentally friendly and efficient power generation methods. As solar technology continues to evolve, there is an increasing emphasis on further advancements to enhance the efficiency of solar power generation [9-12]. Several factors can significantly increase the efficiency of a photovoltaic system. One of the most crucial factors is the orientation of the solar panels relative to the sun. The best way to enhance the efficiency of a solar cell is by using either a Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT) [13] system or a solar tracking system. Implementing a Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT) system or a solar tracking system can boost the solar cell’s efficiency. However, it’s essential to acknowledge that the material used in solar cells can limit their efficiency and lead to higher costs. This can present challenges when trying to improve the efficiency of solar cells. The MPPT system, though effective, can be costly, and the primary method of improving efficiency lies in optimizing solar power collection. Solar tracking systems are designed precisely for this purpose, as they follow the sun’s movement. Various solar trackers, such as single-axis and dual-axis trackers, are employed in the industry. By incorporating a solar tracking system, power production can be significantly increased, resulting in higher overall output throughout the year. Its proper design and implementation is key to making the solar tracking system cost-effective and efficient [17].

Solar farms [14-15] that use static photovoltaic (PV) systems may not always capture the maximum solar energy due to their dependence on environmental factors. To address this issue, solar tracking systems have been developed. These systems actively track the sun’s movement, adjusting the orientation of solar panels to optimize exposure to sunlight. As a result, solar tracking increases efficiency and power generation. By adopting solar tracking systems, solar farms can improve their performance and make the most of solar resources [16]. This technology makes solar power more attractive and viable for sustainable electricity generation. In this study, a portable solar tracking system was developed using a pic microprocessor-based system, and experimental studies were carried out.

This study aims to evaluate the viability and efficacy of putting automated solar tracking systems in place in order to dramatically increase the effectiveness and energy output of solar panels. This research aims to provide useful insights into the practical application of solar tracking technology in maximising solar energy generation through a thorough investigation encompassing component selection, circuit design, microcontroller-based programming, and empirical data collection. The study’s ultimate goal is to clarify the crucial part automated solar monitoring systems play in promoting the use of renewable energy sources and encouraging a more ecologically friendly and sustainable approach to electricity generation [18].

This study is organized as follows: The second section lays the framework for the creation of an automated solar tracking system by providing a thorough examination of the solar tracking technology, covering component selection, circuit design, and microcontroller-based programming. In Section 3, the empirical data gathered over a demanding three-day period is analysed and discussed with a focus on crucial performance metrics like voltage stability, irradiance levels, and temperature control to emphasise the superior performance of the automated tracking system in comparison to static solar panels. The study’s findings are summarised in Section 4 with an emphasis on how automated solar tracking systems might advance the use of renewable energy sources. It also highlights how important these results are for the wider switch to greener and more effective energy sources. Section 5 provides a brief summary of the study’s major findings and emphasises the crucial role that solar tracking technology will play in determining the future of renewable energy production.

  1. Methodology

In this section, the circuit design and software part of the automatic solar tracking system will be discussed. These parts are explained in detail below. There are various methods used to complete this automatic solar tracking system project. This project is started with reading and understanding the concept of the component that will be used. After deciding suitable components need to be used, the basic circuit is sketched to get the picture on how the project circuit will be done.  Then write a proposal to submission to make sure all components and concept is right. After that the  project design starts with the design of the schematic diagram and also programming for the circuit to function. After finish designing the circuit, the circuit will be tested to make sure the programming is right and the components move as the command. When the simulation is success, the circuit and hardware is designed and developed follow by testing and troubleshooting. This method normally take some time because there are many problem to solve before the hardware is move smoothly as wanted. Lastly is final report for submit. The flow chart is shown in Figure 1 (a) and Figure 1 (b).

Figure 2 presents a programming flow chart that illustrates the sequential operation of the automatic solar tracking system. This system incorporates four Light Dependent Resistors (LDRs) strategically placed on the solar panel to continuously measure the intensity of sunlight. The program begins with an initialization phase, setting up essential parameters and variables. The heart of the system lies in the comparison of sensor values. If the LDRs detect varying levels of sunlight, indicating that the solar panel is not optimally aligned with the sun, the program activates a motor. The motor’s purpose is to reposition the solar panel dynamically, ensuring that all LDRs register similar light intensity. This adjustment process is critical for maximizing solar energy capture, as it enables the solar panel to follow the sun’s movement across the sky throughout the day. Simultaneously, an LCD display provides real-time feedback on the sun’s intensity (solar irradiance), allowing users to monitor system performance. As the solar panel aligns with the sun, it begins converting solar energy into electrical power. A portion of this generated power is directed to a solar charger, which regulates and manages the voltage from the solar panel. The solar charger’s primary function is to charge a battery, serving as an energy storage reservoir for times when sunlight is insufficient, such as at night. Another LCD screen displays the battery’s voltage level, ensuring its optimal condition. This entire process operates continuously, adapting to changes in sunlight, and ensures that the solar panel consistently captures the maximum available solar energy. In essence, this automated solar tracking system optimally utilizes solar resources, making it a valuable tool for sustainable energy generation.

(a) (b)
Fig. 1 (a) Methodology flow chart, (b) Programming flowchart
  • Automatic Solar Tracking System Basic Idea

Figure 2 illustrates the fundamental block diagram of the automatic solar tracking system project, which necessitates comprehensive software and hardware development, incorporating various electronic components and a microcontroller. The hardware components employed, as depicted in Figure 1, encompass essential elements that form the system’s foundation. The block diagram serves as a preliminary overview, paving the way for an in-depth exploration of the system’s intricacies. The sensor plays a pivotal role in accurately detecting the sun’s position, furnishing vital feedback to ensure precise solar tracking. The solar panel, featuring solar cells, facilitates solar energy conversion into DC voltage. When the sensor detects sunlight, the motor is activated, repositioning the solar panel to maximize sun exposure. This dynamic movement optimizes energy capture, culminating in enhanced power generation throughout the day. Additionally, a solar charger replenishes the battery, harnessing voltage from the solar panel and proficiently storing the generated energy for subsequent utilization. An integrated LCD monitors the battery’s status and the charging process, presenting real-time information to the user. The microcontroller processes this data and, based on the sun’s position, activates the motor to adjust the solar panel’s orientation. This dynamic movement ensures that the solar panel maximizes its exposure to sunlight, optimizing energy capture. The solar charger is responsible for harnessing the voltage generated by the solar panel to charge the battery, ensuring efficient energy storage. An integrated LCD provides real-time information about the battery’s status and the charging process.



Fig. 2 Basic block diagram of automatic solar tracking system

  • Circuit Design

The design of the main circuit board was created with the help of Proteus software. The software was utilized to design the schematic circuit, the ISIS package program, and the ARES package program for PCB layout design. The main circuit board, which includes a sensor, microcontroller, crystal, and LCD in its design. Designing the main circuit is following the basic idea that already been decide and also from research and study. Microcontroller is used to control the other circuit. The microcontroller will control sensor circuit and motor driver circuit Figure 3 show schematic of the main circuit. Main circuit design consist of sensor, microcontroller, crystal and LCD. Figure 4 show the PCB layout for main circuit design. ARES software is use for make this PCB layout. Figure 5 show the main circuit board.











Fig. 3 ISIS schematic main circuit design


Fig. 4 Main circuit board Fig. 5 ARES PCB layout main circuit design
  • Motor Driver Circuit Design

The automatic solar tracking system uses a circuit with a motor driver to control the DC motor’s movement as shown in Figure 6. Once the microcontroller gets the signal to move the motor, it activates the motor driver, which then powers the DC motor as shown in Figure 7. The sensor detects sunlight and sends a signal to the microcontroller to initiate movement as shown in Figure 8.

Fig. 6 Motor driver schematic design


Fig.7 Motor driver board Fig. 8 Motor driver PCB layout


  • Power Supply Circuit Design

The circuit that supplies power was carefully designed to ensure that each circuit receives sufficient voltage as shown in Figure 9. This power supply can generate both 12 volts and 5 volts as output. The 12V power supply provides power to the motor driver, enabling the motor to move as shown in Figure 10. On the other hand, the 5V power supply is used to power the other boards and assist in their proper functioning as shown in Figure 11. Power supply board is an essential part of the system, providing reliable and regulated power to support the effective operation of all interconnected circuits [18].

Fig. 9 Power supply schematic design

Fig. 10 Power supply board Fig. 11 Power supply PCB layout
  • Solar Charger Circuit Design

The solar charger’s primary function is to charge batteries using solar panel power. It is connected to a microcontroller for precise control as shown in Figure 12. The charger stops charging when the battery is full and resumes when it is not, ensuring it is always ready to supply power to the motor. The solar charger board manages the charging voltage and monitors solar panel input voltage during charging as shown in Figure 13. The solar charger protects the battery from overcharging and includes an LCD for displaying the voltage level during charging as shown in Figure 14.

Fig 12 Solar charger schematic circuit


Fig. 13 Solar changer PCB layout Fig. 14 Solar charger board


  • Sensor Circuit Design

In the sensor circuit, Light Dependent Resistors (LDRs) are used as sensors. Four LDRs are incorporated into this circuit to detect sunlight as shown in Figure 15. These sensors send signals to the main board, which then activates the motor to adjust the solar panel’s position based on the detected sunlight as shown in Figure 16. The LDRs enable precise sun tracking, ensure optimal solar energy utilization, and enhance the overall system’s performance [19]. The autonomous solar tracking system’s capacity to detect and react to sunlight is due in large part to the sensor circuit, as shown in Figure 15. This circuit makes use of the Light Dependent Resistors’ (LDRs’) abilities, which act as the system’s solar eyes. On the solar panel, four LDRs that are carefully positioned keep an eye on the incoming sunlight all the time from different directions. LDRs have the unusual characteristic that their resistance changes depending on the amount of light they are exposed to. These sensors’ degrees of resistance alter in response to sunlight [19]. Their performance in the sensor circuit is based on this characteristic. The main board, which commonly houses a microcontroller functioning as the system’s central processing unit, receives the electrical impulses produced by the LDRs in response to changing light levels. This main board is where the system’s data is processed. The microcontroller is essential for deciphering the incoming data and determining the precise location of the solar panel. The microprocessor starts an operation if the LDRs detect variations in sunlight intensity, indicating that the solar panel is not perfectly aligned with the sun. This is accomplished by turning on a motor, which is crucial in changing the solar panel’s orientation [20]. The solar panel should always face the direction the sun is facing in the sky to maximise solar energy absorption. The microprocessor and LDRs’ capacity to track the sun precisely and dynamically is essential for improving the performance of the entire system [21]. This system increases its efficiency and capacity for power generation by continuously adjusting the angle of the solar panel in response to shifting sun positions throughout the day.The designed circuit pcb structure of all the circuits described above is given in Figure 17.

Fig. 15 Schematic of sensor circuit

Fig. 16 PCB layout of sensor circuit Fig. 17 Sensor circuit board
Fig. 18 Full circuit of solar tracker

Fig. 19 Solar tracker Hardware

  1. Results

The outcomes of our experimental design provide important information on how well the automatic solar tracking system works. To support the relevance of these findings, a more thorough examination is required. First off, the solar tracking system’s voltage stability, which regularly ranges between 18V and 20V throughout the day, demonstrates its capacity to maintain a constant energy output despite shifting climatic conditions [33]. The static solar system, on the other hand, showed more significant voltage output swings, highlighting the system’s success in maximising solar energy absorption. In addition, the data on solar irradiance revealed that the solar tracking system constantly got more sun irradiance than the static solar system. The static system’s peak irradiance was 1460 W/m2, whereas the solar tracking system’s was 1555 W/m2 [25]. This variation highlights the solar tracking system’s effectiveness in maximising solar energy absorption, which eventually leads to enhanced electricity generation. The data showed that the solar tracking system was able to maintain a lower operational temperature (53.4°C) than the static system (59.5°C), demonstrating the importance of the temperature management component. Due to the detrimental effects that excessive heat can have on solar panels’ performance, this temperature management feature is essential for extending their lifespan and preserving their effectiveness. Due to the special nature of the system we constructed, direct comparisons with other studies in the field are still difficult, but the results we observed are consistent with the general understanding of solar tracking research [24]. The improved temperature control, higher irradiance levels, and greater voltage stability shown in this study are in line with the benefits of solar tracking technology that have been predicted in other studies. Benchmarking our system against different solar tracking techniques may be a future research goal in order to give a more thorough comparison analysis.

The full hardware of the solar tracker is depicted in Figure 19 and is contained within a box. Once the sensor detects the sun’s rays, the motor will begin to move.This work focuses on an automatic solar tracking system, wherein the solar panel adjusts its position based on detected sunlight using sensors [32]. To obtain accurate measurements, data was collected continuously from morning to evening for three consecutive days. The data collection occurred at half-hour intervals, starting from 9:00 am and concluding at 4:30 pm each day. Table 1 presents the results obtained for Day 1, showcasing the recorded data at specific time points throughout the day [26]. These collected measurements are essential for evaluating the performance and efficiency of the solar tracking system in capturing solar irradiance and optimizing power generation.

Average values were calculated for static solar and solar tracking scenarios, considering voltage, irradiance, and temperature values. Table 2 displays these average values. Analyzing the average voltage values for the solar tracking system and static solar energy shows that the solar tracking system exhibits more excellent stability than the static system. Furthermore, when examining the average irradiance columns for both solar tracking and static solar energy, it becomes apparent that the solar tracking system receives higher irradiance levels than the static system. The table also presents the average temperature values for the solar tracking system and static solar energy [27]. The data shows that the temperature in the static approach is higher than that of the solar tracking system. In summary, the results in Table 2 highlight the superiority of the solar tracking system in terms of stability, irradiance absorption, and temperature control compared to the static solar energy system.

Table 1 Table captions should be placed above the tables

  Solar tracker Static solar
Clock Voltage (v) Irradiance (w/m2) Temperature (oC) Voltage (v) Irradiance (w/m2) Temperature (oC)
9.30am 19.658 1442 47.8 11.925 750 37.29
10.00am 19.53 1428 50.4 12.991 812 38.1
10.30am 19.454 1436 51.2 19.676 1436 50.7
11.00am 19.596 1441 49.8 19.681 1442 50.5
11.30am 19.69 1449 48.4 19.807 1450 49.4
12.00pm 19.597 1493 48.7 19.939 1453 47.8
12.30pm 19.481 1453 49.8 19.991 1474 47
1.00pm 19.452 1488 52 19.915 1472 47.3
1.30pm 19.414 1434 52.2 19.874 1462 48.6
2.00pm 19.287 1423 53.9 17.101 1243 45.6
2.30pm 19.27 1426 53 19.875 1453 47.3
3.00pm 19.362 1428 53.4 19.758 1444 49.4
3.30pm 19.488 1333 51.7 19.721 1436 49.6
4.00pm 19.535 1339 51.8 12.484 802 47.5
4.30pm 19.55 1321 52.4 12.542 794 45.5


No.Day Average voltage Average irradiance Average temperature
Solar tracker (V) Static solar (V) Solar tracker (W/m2) Static solar (W/m2) Solar tracker (oC) Static solar (oC)
Day 1 19.491 17.499 1422.267 1261.533 51.10 46.773
Day 2 19.518 17.845 1418.533 1246.933 44.60 47.840
Day 3 19.414 18.611 1431.467 1366.333 39.04 55.733

Table 2 Static Solar and Solar Tracker average values comparison table

Figure 20 and Figure 21 shows the recorded voltage data for tracking system and static. This analysis is performed in order to compare and identify the solar efficiency between solar tracker and static solar. The analysis is conducted with the same time and condition for solar tracker and static solar.












Fig. 20 Voltage data for solar tracker

Based on the graph of recorded voltage data in Figure 20 and Figure 21, the output voltage for the tracking system is more stable compared to the output of the static solar [31]. The output voltage of the tracking system is stable at 18V – 20V during the making of the output voltage experiment and static solar produce unstable output. Irradiance is the sun ray that cover the photovoltaic and it is represented in watt per meter square (W/m2). Figure 22 and Figure 23 show the irradiance data for tracking system and static system.


Fig. 21Voltage data for static solar


Fig. 22 Irradiance data for solar tracker


Fig. 23 Irradiance data for static solar


The highest value of the irradiance for tracking system is 1555 W/m2 and for without tracking system is 1460 W/m2. Then, for the lower value of irradiance with tracking system is 1320 W/m2 and without tracking system is 723 W/m2. Solar irradiance also affect substantially of the voltage output [28]. Higher output voltage can be produced with the increasing of solar irradiance covers the solar panel and it also depends on the solar panel limitation and efficiency. With high solar irradiance, it will affect the solar panel itself where it will shorten the life span of solar panels and it will also reduce the efficiency of output voltage [29]. Temperature is one of the important criteria using the photovoltaic [30]. Temperature can affects the efficiency of the photovoltaic. This is because temperature will make the photovoltaic life will be shorten. Figure 24 and Figure 25 show the temperature data for tracking system and static system.


Fig. 24Temperature data for solar tracker

Fig. 25 Temperature data for static solar


From Figure 24 and Figure 25, temperature for static system is higher than the tracking system. The highest temperature value for static solar is 59.5 oC and for solar tracker is 53.4 oC.

  1. Conclusion

In this study, all the objectives outlined in the paper were successfully achieved by designing and implementing an automatic solar tracker control system using sensors and a microcontroller. The article also encompasses the analysis and development of the necessary programming for the microcontroller, enabling precise control of the solar tracker’s movement. Having accomplished these two primary objectives, the study obtained results related to the solar tracker’s characterization of irradiance levels and power generation. These results were then compared with those obtained from static solar systems. The comprehensive investigation and successful implementation of the automatic solar tracker and its comparison with static solar systems allowed for a thorough evaluation of the solar tracker’s efficiency and effectiveness in optimizing energy capture from the sun. The results obtained from this study contribute valuable insights into the performance and benefits of employing solar tracking systems, paving the way for further advancements in solar energy utilization and renewable energy technologies.

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