Photovoltaic category

Circuit implements photovoltaic-module simulator


José M Blanes and Ausiàs Garrigós writes:

Electronics engineers often use photovoltaic-module simulators to test dc/dc-power converters, inverters, or MPPT (maximum-power-point-tracking)-control techniques. The use of these simulators lets you work in the laboratory with predefined photovoltaic conditions, thus avoiding the drawbacks of real photovoltaic modules. Various commercial simulators are available, but they are often expensive.

Circuit implements photovoltaic-module simulator – [Link]

How to connect a Solar Inverter in 10 minutes

Let’s connect a solar power inverter for AC voltage output in just 10 minutes.

How to connect a Solar Inverter in 10 minutes – [Link]

Arduino based sun tracking turret

Arduino Based Sun Tracker Turret

Sun tracker systems are widely used in solar panel setups to get maximum performance. You may want to use one in your personal solar panel setup. Now you can make your own with an Arduino, following the project that’s designed by RobotGeek Team and Wade Filewich.

Arduino based sun tracking turret
Arduino based sun tracking turret

Parts You’ll Need:

You should also upload the sketch in Arduino. So download it from GitHub –> desktopRoboTurretV3.

To upload the sketch in Arduino,

File → Sketchbook → desktopRoboTurretV3 → roboTurret3_solarTracker

Now click Upload.


Sun Tracker Turret Based On Arduino
Sun Tracker Turret Based On Arduino

Place the light sensors in correct position and wire them to Arduino accordingly. Any wrong positioning can generate strange behavior of the system.  Jumpers for the servos (pin 9, 10, and 11) are set to VIN, so that your servos function properly.

(NOTE: A 6V power supply will work just fine, and RoboTurret Kit includes one). Here is the chart of wiring:

Wiring list of servo and Arduino : Sun tracker
Wiring chart of servo,light sensor, potentiometer and Arduino : Sun tracker

There are two potentiometers. One is for controlling the speed of servos, and another is for controlling the sensitivity of sensors.

Set Up The Turret:

You should follow Desktop RoboTurret Assembly Guide to build the turret. After building, attach your sensors to the top plates as close to center as possible. Look at the picture:

Sensor Positions On Turret
Sensor Positions On Turret

The “+” shaped fins cast shadow on sensors. So, position of sensors should be correct else fins can’t cast shadow  on them accurately. Have a close view on sensor’s position:

Sensor position on turret : close lookup
Sensor position on turret : close view

While wiring through the plate, keep wires loose enough so that turret can move freely to aim at the Sun. At the back of the turret base, there is plenty of room to mount the two potentiometers.

The fins are 8 inches tall, which should be plenty to cast shadow on the sensors. I’ve used scrap cardboard for the fins, but you can use whatever material suits you best, so long as it is opaque and can throw a shadow.

Test It:

So, you finished the building process. Now let’s test it. Upload the code to Arduino and power up the system. Now hold a table lamp and move it. The turret should follow the movement. Adjust speed and sensitivity using the two potentiometers. Watch the video that demonstrates the system:

MPPT solar charger


Lukas Fässler show us his progress on the MPPT solar charger:

One of my main goals with this design is to achieve very low standby current, somewhere in the tens of microamps. The basis for this is a low-power buck on the basis of a Texas TPS62120 where the microcontroller can switch the output voltage between 2.2 and 3.3 volts nominally. This works as intended. With no load and the output voltage low, the supply consumes 12.9 microamps at 12V input voltage. With the high output voltage the idle current goes up to 14.3uA. Quite a bit of that current is due to the voltage divider that sets the output voltage. The regulator itself consumes about 9uA in both cases.

MPPT solar charger – [Link]

A very simple DIY solar-powered USB charger


Raj @ tipped us with his latest project. It’s a simple, but useful USB Solar powered charger able to charge a power bank or your smartphone.

Yesterday, I built a very simple DIY solar-powered USB charger for my TP-link 10400mAh USB Power Bank. All I needed was a 6V/3.5W solar panel and the TD1410-based 5V buck converter module. I bought both of them on Aliexpress for less than $8.

A very simple DIY solar-powered USB charger – [Link]

MPPT Solar Charger Design based on PIC18F26J50


At the core of the design is a PIC18F26J50 in a 28 pin SOIC package. It’s capable of running at down to 2.15 volts and consumes extremely little power when running at lower clock speeds. And apart from that it features USB so we can have all the benefits of USB without any external components except, of course, a USB socket.

MPPT Solar Charger Design based on  [Link]

Photovoltaic simulator system adds automated MPPT Efficiency Test


An added test facility enables test of a 1,500V photovoltaic (solar energy) inverter’s static and dynamic maximum peak power tracking (MPPT) according to European Standard EN50530, with a single command, creating downloadable photovoltaic I-V curves, plus static and dynamic EN50530 test reports. by Graham Prophet @

Photovoltaic simulator system adds automated MPPT Efficiency Test – [Link]

Inkjet printing of text or photos as solar cells


by Denis Meyer @

Research is in progress at the University of Aalto in Finland on the development of a process for inkjet printing of text, photos or any illustrations as solar cells. The idea is not new but these researchers are covering new ground which will allow the use of ordinary materials. According to Janne Halme: “The difficulty has been the development of solvents which are both clean and photovoltaic and give a good print quality”.

Inkjet printing of text or photos as solar cells – [Link]

Build a $1 per Watt parallelizable MPPT controller


Jonathan Bruneau designed a $1/W maximum power point tracker used to extract maximum power from solar panels and published his project on

Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) is a technique whereupon special electronics attempts to extract the optimal amount of energy from a solar panel. This optimal point fluctuates in function of a variety of factors including: temperature, quantity of incoming light, solar panel age, etc.

Current MPPT controllers tend to be expensive. They range from tens of dollars for 3W supplies to hundreds of dollars for 100W and above. Lower costs can be achieved but typically trade-off functionality essential for proper MPPT operation. This makes MPPTs poor candidates for cost sensitive applications

If the cost could be reduced to a more attractive price point, MPPT controllers could become synonymous with solar panels, opening doors for new renewable applications.

Build a $1 per Watt parallelizable MPPT controller – [Link]

Dual axis solar tracker with online energy monitor


by geo bruce @

The features of this solar tracker are:

  • Solar tracking: making sure the solar panels are aligned to the sun as long as possible.
  • Energy monitor: This measures the voltage and the current generated by the panels and calculates the generated Power and Energy.
  • Data logging: this sends the data from the energy monitor into the cloud of ThingSpeak.
  • Also there is an LCD to display the values of the energy monitor

Dual axis solar tracker with online energy monitor – [Link]