#1 May 24, 2016 08:58:19

sheffield_nick
Registered: 2015-05-30
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Heliostat (sun-tracking mirror) to reflect light onto PV panels?

Most of the information I can find about heliostats online is for concentrating sunlight to a nearby focus. e.g., for cooking/hot water. And a commercial product that reflects light from a garden into a dark room. Not much about solar PV.

I'm interested in trying to use mirrors in my 50m-long garden to reflect morning sunlight onto my normally-shaded rooftop PV.

For example my 2.4kWp array is only producing 100W at the moment, on a bright sunny morning. Even if a couple of large mirrors could only boost that by 200W for 4 hrs a day, it would seem like it would be worth the cost of a homemade solution?

(I'm not worried about ‘burning out’ the panels in the afternoon sun, as I'd switch the heliostats off in some neutral position)

Thanks

PS - the garden is on a steep slope, so I'd be able to place the mirrors on the roof of a shed - pretty much the same height as the house roof that the PV array is on.

Edited sheffield_nick (May 24, 2016 09:08:21)

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#2 May 24, 2016 09:35:32

dwilliams
Registered: 2011-11-09
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Heliostat (sun-tracking mirror) to reflect light onto PV panels?

I love novel and ingenious ideas like this but immediately wondered if reflected sunlight is the same as direct for PV generation purposes. Looks like the answer is yes, mostly …

https://www.quora.com/Can-sun-rays-reflected-by-a-mirror-to-a-solar-panel-generate-electricity

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#3 March 13, 2017 11:22:46

sheffield_nick
Registered: 2015-05-30
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Heliostat (sun-tracking mirror) to reflect light onto PV panels?

I've started working on this project again, and it is looking fairly promising. I estimate that with 5 mirrors totalling 4m2, I can produce an extra 160kWh of electricity per year. So not much, but worth it if I can build the mirrors + controlling electronics cheaply enough. Certainly not worth installing a commercial system.

I'm planning on making the mirrors out of scrap plywood + old mylar film emergency blankets, for example, and an Arduino-based control system.

I'll post updates here if I get a working system, with photos, costs, video, etc.

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