Following the sun to success

The challenge for operators of PV power plants is to achieve the highest possible energy yield with their plants. Besides selecting the right technology, the best way to increase yield is by using single-axis or dual-axis tracking systems, which can raise the yield of PV power plants by 30 to 40 percent, depending on the location. Precise tracking of the position of the sun is actually a basic requirement for solar power plants working with concentrated photovoltaics (CPV) or concentrated solar power (CSP).

Solar tracking

Make the most of the sun with optimal solar tracking

Although we can't influence periods of sunshine, we can make better use of them. With our control systems for single-axis or dual-axis trackers for horizontal and/or zenithal tracking of solar modules, you can significantly improve performance. Tracking is calculated using a high-precision astronomic algorithm (accuracy 0.0003°). The core of our tracking solution is the SIMATIC S7-1200 controller in combination with the ready-to-use solar tracking toolbox. This library reduces your engineering effort and easily enables modular and scalable applications.

Our automation solution, your benefits

  • Efficient and fast engineering of the entire automation task in the TIA Portal reduces time and costs by up to 30 %
  • Reach your goal faster with the fully programmed and tested function blocks of the free solar tracking toolbox
  • Fast, precise, and reliable adjustment of the tracking axes thanks to proven SINAMICS V20 frequency converters
  • Simplified commissioning and remote diagnostics by means of the integrated web server
  • Easy communication among all the components of a solar farm thanks to integrated concepts and open interfaces
  • Solutions for single-axis and multi-axis tracking control of photovoltaic and CSP plants
  • Increased energy yield through backtracking function

Reliable tracker farm communication

A tracking system can consist of one or more solar trackers. Smaller solar farms are best organized into groups that are connected via PROFINET. In this case, a controller takes over the higher-level functions such as the handling of wind alarms and time synchronization. In larger farms with more than 25 trackers, a combination of line and star connections is a feasible option. Various transmission media such as optical fiber can also be used. The PROFINET interface of the SIMATIC S7-1200 and the expansion modules with communication interfaces such as Modbus ensure integrated communication throughout the entire solar farm. 

Bright prospects in terms of your budget: SIMATIC Automation Tool

The free SIMATIC Automation Tool enables easy network management and runs independently of the engineering system. It can be used, for example, to automatically assign IP addresses from a list during commissioning. It can also read the states of all SIMATIC components and address the stations individually or in groups. One way in which the tool saves time and prevents errors is by selectively updating the controller firmware and application software via the shared PROFINET network. 

Products used

SIMATIC S7-1200 with preprogrammed, tested software modules from the solar tracking toolbox

PROFINET and PROFIsafe for communication with the drives

SINAMICS V20, the compact frequency converter for fast, precise, and reliable adjustment of tracking axes

Solar tracking in practice

Optimal use of sunlight on Bindlacher Berg

Dual-axis tracking systems guarantee optimal energy yield

More information

Automation for solar tracking

For more information about our automation concepts for solar tracking, contact our experts directly.