The photovoltaic (solar energy) system at moonshadow is composed of the following equipment:
- Various PV panels mounted on static (roofs, pole frame) and dynamic (tracking) structures
- Trace Engineering inverter to convert DC (direct current: battery) power to AC (alternating current)
- RV Solar boost charge controller to route and measure DC from PV panels to battery bank
- Zomeworks tracker to align 8 PV panels with the sun’s rays
- 8 Trojan deep-cycle 6-volt batteries, wired in series and in parallel to create a large 12-volt bank
- Sunfrost DC refrigerator
- Wiring in the house is a dual AC and DC system
- AC (common plug-in electric) system is breakered into 4 zones
- DC system runs several halogen and LED lights, “cigarette lighter” outlets, and the refrigerator
How The Zomeworks PhotoVoltaic Tracker Works
The Track Rack begins the day facing west. As the sun rises in the east, it heats the unshaded west-side canister, forcing liquid into the shaded east-side canister. As liquid moves through a copper tube to the east-side canister, the tracker rotates so that it faces east. Because there are tall trees on the edges of our open field, the tracker doesn’t move the array until about 10am… so we sometimes push it eastward with a bamboo pole.
The heating of the liquid is controlled by the aluminum shadow plates. When one canister is exposed to the sun more than the other, its vapor pressure increases, forcing liquid to the cooler, shaded side. The shifting weight of the liquid causes the rack to rotate until the canisters are equally shaded.
As the sun moves, the rack follows (at approximately 15 degrees per hour), continually seeking equilibrium as liquid moves from one side of the tracker to the other.
The rack completes its daily cycle facing west. It remains in this position overnight until it is “awakened” by the rising sun the following morning.