(19)
(11)EP 2 997 316 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
08.05.2019 Bulletin 2019/19

(21)Application number: 14798438.9

(22)Date of filing:  11.04.2014
(51)Int. Cl.: 
F24S 30/40  (2018.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2014/033762
(87)International publication number:
WO 2014/186079 (20.11.2014 Gazette  2014/47)

(54)

METHOD AND SYSTEM OF CONTROLLING A SOLAR TRACKING SYSTEM

VERFAHREN UND SYSTEM ZUR REGELUNG EINES SONNENVERFOLGUNGSSYSTEMS

MÉTHODE ET SYSTÈME POUR CONTRÔLER UN SYSTÈME DE POURSUITE SOLAIRE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 15.05.2013 US 201313895117

(43)Date of publication of application:
23.03.2016 Bulletin 2016/12

(73)Proprietor: Array Technologies Patent Holding Co. LLC
Albuquerque, NM 87109 (US)

(72)Inventor:
  • CORIO, Ronald, P.
    Albuquerque, NM 87109 (US)

(74)Representative: Söllner, Udo 
Patentanwalt Nigerstraße 4
81675 München
81675 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
DE-B- 1 080 162
DE-U1-202009 009 344
US-A- 3 462 021
US-A1- 2005 035 049
US-A1- 2008 308 091
US-A1- 2009 188 206
US-B1- 6 726 255
DE-B- 1 080 162
US-A- 3 369 331
US-A- 3 500 264
US-A1- 2005 035 049
US-A1- 2008 308 091
US-A1- 2013 026 793
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION


    Field of the Invention (Technical Field):



    [0001] The presently claimed invention relates to solar energy production and more particularly to a method and apparatus for constructing mechanically linked, single axis solar tracking systems of various tracking geometries to follow the diurnal motion of the sun.

    Background Art:



    [0002] Solar tracking systems utilized in renewable energy production are devices that track the motion of the sun relative to the earth to maximize the production of solar energy. Solar trackers move to keep solar modules perpendicular to the sun in either one or two axes. The presently claimed invention applies to photovoltaic modules (PV) for generating electrical power, but may be applied to any solar energy collection device, such as solar thermal or material exposure testing devices. Solar trackers have been successfully deployed in the industry; however, the prior art designs have not adequately addressed the initial installation costs, flexibility in adaptation to site conditions, and reliability over the relatively long lifetime (20+ years) of the system. In choosing a solar tracker system, one must consider all of the following variables:
    • PV module cost,
    • land cost, site geometry and availability,
    • installation labor cost,
    • material cost,
    • meteorological data,
    • operation and maintenance costs,
    • overall efficiency increase that the tracker provides.


    [0003] The state of the art approaches have not fully optimized the combination of all the relevant cost issues. The energy gain provided by trackers is dependent upon the tracking geometry of the system and the location of the installation. A dual axis (D/A) tracker keeps the collector perpendicular to the sun on both axis', and provides the greatest gain in energy production at any location. Single axis (S/A) trackers are fixed in one axis and typically track the daily motion of the sun in the other axis. Single axis tracker geometries include tilted elevation, azimuth, and horizontal. Tilted elevation S/A trackers are tilted as a function of the location's latitude and they track the sun's daily motion about that tilted axis. Azimuth S/A trackers are tilted at an optimum angle and follow the daily motion of the sun by rotating about the vertical axis. Horizontal S/A trackers are configured parallel to the ground and rotate about a North/South horizontal axis to track the sun's daily motion. The energy gained varies for each type of tracking geometry and is dependent upon the latitude of the installation and the weather conditions at the installation location. Solar tracking systems for PV modules are commercially available in single axis tilt and roll, single axis horizontal, single axis fixed tilt azimuth, and dual axis geometries.

    [0004] All trackers must be built strong enough to resist the wind forces in any tracking position or be "stowed" to reduce the effect of extreme wind forces. Modules also require periodic cleaning, which in many locations is primarily accomplished by rain "washing" the modules. Snow can affect tracker operations, due to the occurrence of ice or the weight of snow on modules, or snowdrifts that interfere with tracker movement and the collection of solar energy. In addition, construction materials, electronics, drive components, and motors must be able to operate within temperature and climate constraints.

    [0005] In many applications, the horizontal single axis tracker is the most cost effective tracker geometry. A horizontal S/A tracker structure may be supported at many points along the rotating axis and, therefore, requires less complexity and less material for construction than other tracking geometries. The key to successful design of a tracking apparatus for PV modules is to provide the maximum overall economic benefit, such as the initial apparatus cost, the installation cost, the land utilization, the cost and efficiency of the solar modules, and the operation and maintenance costs as well as the efficiency gain provided by the tracking geometry. As the cost of steel and other fabrication material rises, the horizontal tracking geometry is increasingly desirable. It minimizes the structural material requirements by keeping the modules at a relatively low profile to the foundation, and at a minimum overhung moment load relative to the rotating axis without requiring special connections to rotate the system about its center of gravity.

    [0006] The prior art horizontal axis trackers typically have connected each row of modules together with a linear motion linkage in an effort to minimize the number of drive motors required. Prior art mechanically linked horizontal and tilted single axis tracking systems require substantial mechanical linkages structurally capable of resisting high force loading due to overhung solar module weight and large forces induced by the wind.

    [0007] The shortcoming of this prior art system is that all of the wind forces are concentrated to a single point, through the mechanical linkage. The embodiment of the presently claimed invention specifically eliminates the need for a robust mechanical linkage capable of resisting high-load forces induced by the wind. The design of the current embodiments eliminates the transmittance of these wind forces to the linkage, and counteracts the external wind forces locally, within each tracker row or array such that the wind force is not transmitted to the linkage. The prior art also requires a separate, large foundation, or foundations, to anchor a single drive mechanism that rotates many rows of modules with a linear motion motor. One such device is a horizontal, single axis tracking system described in US Patent No. 6,058,930, to Shingleton. In this system, the horizontal rows of modules are linked together with a linear motion linkage and operated by a single linear actuator attached to a separate, large foundation. In addition to the prior art horizontal axis, mechanically linked trackers require generally flat or graded terrain for proper operation. Many columns must be installed at height elevations and locations requiring high tolerance within 100+ columns, across two dimensions in a large area, for mechanical linkages between rows to line up for operation. This often requires extensive and costly site preparation. Some prior art linked horizontal trackers have embodiments that allow for installation on undulating terrain, but require expensive joints that must be fabricated onsite that also must resist the large forces induced by the wind. These high force loaded pivoting joints are generally complicated and expensive to construct. Another disadvantage of the prior art is that they are designed as large rectangles with a linkage running down the center of the array field. If the installation field is not suitable in the shape of a rectangle, these systems are often employed in less than optimum configurations where fewer modules are controlled by the linkage. This is another cost increase factor for the prior art in many installations. The linear motion linkage of the prior art represents an excess of material and a labor-intensive installation cost component. The linkage must be robust in order to directly resist the force of an entire field of many rows of trackers to one large linear drive that must be affixed to a large separate linear actuator drive foundation. The separate, large foundation is necessary to anchor the drive mechanism and must resist very high forces induced by the wind to the entire tracker field. In addition, the flexibility in site layout is impacted by the linear motion linkage since the drive connection must generally run, centered in the rows, and be installed in a straight perpendicular line. The mechanical linkage of the prior art must be fixed at a right angle to the torsion tube and cannot deviate from perpendicular, therefore, not allowing the system to conform to irregular installation site boundaries.

    [0008] Another linked tracker system for driving a plurality of individual solar tracker assembly with a motor is disclosed in US 2008/0308091.

    [0009] Tracking geometries other than the horizontal single axis require more land area for installation. In a field of trackers, all the tracker geometries except for the horizontal axis tracker must be spaced in two dimensions, East/West and North/South, so as not to shade each other. The horizontal axis tracker need only be spaced apart in the East/West dimension to alleviate shading and, therefore, requires much less land to implement. Land contour and shape also critically control the cost of the installation of most horizontal single axis tracker systems.

    [0010] Another type of horizontal axis tracker is not linked together and typically includes multiple PV modules mounted astride a torque tube. These are designed as independently motor driven rows. These horizontal trackers are driven individually by a motor/gear drive system and the PV array is rotated about the center of gravity of the PV module tracking system. Rotating the array about the center of gravity eliminates the moment loads applied to the gear drive by the overhung weight of the solar modules. In order to rotate the array about the center of gravity, this type of horizontal tracker design requires more structural material and more costly torque tube connections and bearings than the present horizontal axis tracker embodiments. Other disadvantages of these tracker designs include a higher projected wind area that requires more structural material and large foundations to resist greater moment loads and larger capacity drives to overcome moment loading from the solar modules that are mounted at a larger distance from the torque tube due to the taller profile of the array. They also have more complex bearing and support points that rotate the PV modules about the center of gravity of the tracker, and use a motor per single tracker row, which equates to increased cost, maintenance, and decreased reliability.

    [0011] A third tracker geometry is a tilted, single axis tracker. Often termed a tilt and roll tracker, it is tilted in elevation and then rotates about that tilted axis. This type of tracker typically offers increased gain over a horizontal tracking system, but at an added cost that should be critically analyzed prior to deployment. These costs include the requirement for more land due to the spacing necessary for shading in both the N/S and E/W dimensions and a more complex structure requiring more structural material because of increased projected height from foundation. These systems are also not capable of automatic stow during high winds since the elevation angle is fixed and therefore, must be structurally capable of withstanding all wind forces. Another tilted single axis geometry is a fixed tilt azimuth tracker. A fixed tilt azimuth tracker is tilted in elevation and then rotates about a vertical axis. This design, although typically more structurally stable than a tilt and roll tracker, suffers from the same cost drawbacks as the tilt and roll design; although, the performance gain may make the tilted single axis geometry economic for some installations.

    [0012] The last tracking geometry is a dual-axis (D/A) tracker. D/A trackers provide the greatest performance gain over all the aforementioned tracking geometries since they keep the solar modules perpendicular to the sun in both axes. There are; however, several practical disadvantages of these systems: more land is required due to spacing necessary for shading in two dimensions; a more complex structure is necessary that requires more structural material as a result of increased projected height from the earth and foundation; and a second drive axis for elevation is necessary, which increases complexity, expense, and maintenance issues. In addition, D/A systems typically use two drive motors per a relatively small surface area of solar modules that results in increases in both initial cost and subsequent maintenance costs. Some types of solar collectors, concentrating collectors for example, require D/A tracking to operate.

    [0013] As previously indicated, an ideal solar tracking system will operate in all types of conditions. This includes situations whereby a tracker's movement is impeded by obstructions or the like. If there are no safeguards in place, permanent damage can result in the tracker system when an obstruction condition exists. In addition, human intervention may be necessary to cure the condition. Sometimes, timely human intervention is impossible if the trackers are in remote locations and secondly, sending out a technician for every obstruction condition can be very costly.

    [0014] Another need in a solar tracker system is the ability to have flexibility in the design of the systems to support different lengths of driveshafts for differing terrain conditions and systems. Presently, the fabrication of specific length of driveshafts requires field welding and painting. A similar problem exists for torsion tubes. A design for providing a simple method to join torsion tube segments together in the field is necessary.

    SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION (DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION)



    [0015] The system of the present invention has an adjustable limit for the driveline torque applied by the motor to the driveline. The system monitors the torque via clutch slippage or power to the motor, sensors that monitor the movement of the tracker or other methods of monitoring, to determine an event that obstructs the movement of the tracker. A remote location monitors the status of each tracker system and sends commands via a communication system. Once the monitors or sensors detect an obstruction event, the system enters into an obstruction clearing mode 1 (OCM1), which is an adjustable high frequency series of attempts to move the obstructed tracker for an adjustable predetermined amount of time. If the tracker begins normal movement as one of the series of attempts, the system continues in a normal fashion. If the obstruction condition persists after the predetermined period of time, the system enters into an obstruction clearing mode 2 (OCM2). This mode is an adjustable lower frequency mode for an adjustable longer predetermined period of time. Again, if during this mode the tracker moves in a normal fashion, the system reverts to normal operation. If the obstructed condition persists after the OCM2, the remote location is advised and maintenance personnel can be sent to the location. The remote location, during this entire process receives information and may send commands to the tracker system. The obstruction clearing and monitoring system may be designed to prevent over-torque damage to the driveline or other components and prevents breakers from tripping which involves a visit by maintenance personnel to reset the breaker.

    [0016] Other objects, advantages and novel features, and further scope of applicability of the presently claimed invention will be set forth in part in the detailed description to follow, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, and in part will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon examination of the following, or may be learned by practice of the claimed invention. The objects and advantages of the claimed invention may be realized and attained by means of the instrumentalities and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0017] The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated into and form a part of the specification, illustrate several embodiments of the presently claimed invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the claimed invention. The drawings are only for the purpose of illustrating preferred embodiments of the claimed invention and are not to be construed as limiting the claimed invention. The drawings are included in the description below.

    Fig. 1A shows a mechanically linked horizontal tracker embodiment.

    Fig. 2 is a flow chart showing the adjustable limit embodiment for over torque conditions.


    DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS (BEST MODES FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION)



    [0018] Fig. 2 is a flow chart that shows the method of incorporating an adjustable limit to the driveline torque that can be applied by the motor to a driveline. In most tracker systems, when a tracker is impeded by an obstacle, or heavy snow load or the like, the circuit breaker for the motor is tripped causing a person to go out to the stuck tracker to reset the circuit breaker even if the obstacle is removed or the stuck condition goes away. For example, if a heavy snow has fallen and temporarily impedes the movement of the tracker. The presently claimed invention provides a system to temporarily remove power to the motor for a predetermined amount of time and to then provide power to the motor again once the impeded condition is cleared or to continue to prevent power to the motor if the condition continues after at least one reset cycle. The determination of the amount of driveline torque or lack of movement of the tracker can be accomplished in several methods. Clutch slippage can be determined, a sensor can be mounted on the tracker to sense movement, the amount of power used by the motor can be monitored for a predetermined level or any other similar method can be employed, each of these methods, collectively defined, as sensing movement of the tracker assembly.

    [0019] Referring to Figs. 1 and 2, the system and method first calculates a position 150 in a programmable logic control (PLC) 152, as performed in most tracker systems. The system then sends a prompt to move the tracker 154, if necessary. If the tracker is in a correct position and does not need to be moved 156 the system reverts to calculate position 150 mode. This information is conveyed to a remote Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) 180, via an onboard controller 17. SCADA 180 provides communication to and from one or more tracker systems via typical communication networks 19. If the tracker requires movement 158, a prompt is sent to tracker motor 14 to move the tracker. Tracker position feedback 160 is provided from tracker motor 14 and a determination as to whether the tracker is moving 162, via a movement sensor 21. If the tracker is moving 164, the system is operating normally and the system feeds back to calculate position 150 mode. If the tracker is not moving 166, the system enters into obstruction clearing mode 1 (OCM1) 168 and PLC 152 sends a signal to SCADA 180. OCM1 168 is typically a high frequency attempt to move the tracker for a predetermined amount of time by prompting 170 tracker motor 14 and sending a signal to calculate position 150. For example, this can be once per minute for a thirty minute period of time. The frequency and the time period are fully adjustable by a user. OCM1 168 is typically sufficient to compensate for a momentary wind event or a temporary obstruction. If the tracker moves as instructed during the OCM1 period, the tracker is operating in a normal fashion again and reported 172 to SCADA 180 and to calculate position 150.

    [0020] After the predetermined amount of time is exhausted in OCM1 168 mode and there is still a no movement condition, a prompt 174 is provided and the system enters an obstruction clearing mode 2 (OCM2) 176 via a message from SCADA 180. OCM2 176 is typically a lower frequency attempt to move the tracker, for example once every twenty minutes, for a longer period of time, for example two weeks. Again, the frequency and time period are fully adjustable by the user. OCM2 176 is designed for longer term obstruction events, such as a lingering snow storm. If during OCM2 176 time period, the tracker begins movement, this is reported 178 to SCADA 180 and to calculate position 150 and the system operates in a normal fashion. If after the OCM2 time period and no movement of the tracker are measured, the system ceases all movement attempts and reports to SCADA 180 that a malfunction condition exists and maintenance crew can be dispatched to the site.

    [0021] Although this description referred to PV modules, the presently claimed invention can also be used to track solar heat collectors, building shade systems, sunlight exposure testing of materials, and other systems that require tracking of the sun.

    [0022] Although the claimed invention has been described in detail with particular reference to these preferred embodiments, other embodiments can achieve the same results. Variations and modifications of the presently claimed invention will be obvious to those skilled in the art and it is intended to cover in the appended claims all such modifications and equivalents.


    Claims

    1. A method of adjusting a duration and frequency of obstruction clearing modes to a motor of a linked tracker system for driving a plurality of individual solar tracker assemblies with the motor, the method comprising the steps of:

    a) providing a communication system between an onboard controller on one of the tracker assemblies and a remote supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) (180);

    b) sending a prompt to the motor to move the tracker assemblies (10);

    c) sensing (21) whether the tracker assemblies are moving (162);

    d) entering into a first obstruction clearing mode, OCM1, (168) if the tracker assemblies are not moving, the OCM1 (168) comprising an OCM1 adjustable predetermined time period, wherein the OCM1 comprises an adjustable first frequency series of prompts to the tracker assemblies to move;

    e) entering into a second obstruction clearing mode, OCM2, (176) if the tracker assemblies are not moving after the OCM1 time period, the OCM2 (176) comprising an OCM2 adjustable predetermined time period, wherein the OCM2 comprises an adjustable second frequency series of prompts to the tracker assemblies to move; wherein the second frequency is lower than the first frequency; and

    f) ceasing movement attempts if the tracker assemblies are not moving after the OCM2 time period.


     
    2. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of providing a communication system (180) comprises remotely sensing the movement, prompting movement of the tracker assemblies (154) and commanding the tracker assemblies to enter the OCM1 (168) or OCM2 (176) modes.
     
    3. The method of claim 2 wherein the step of sensing movement of the tracker assemblies comprises a member from the group consisting of measuring clutch slippage, a movement sensor and measuring power consumed by the motor.
     
    4. The method of claim 1 further comprising entering into a normal mode if the tracker assemblies move correctly during the OCM1 (168) or OCM2 (176) modes.
     
    5. The method of claim 1 further comprising notifying maintenance personnel of a malfunction condition after the OCM2 time period and/or further comprising removing power to the motor in between attempts to move the tracker assemblies during the OCM1 mode (168) and OCM2 mode (176).
     
    6. A system for adjusting the duration and frequency of obstruction clearing modes to a motor of a linked tracker system for driving a plurality of individual solar tracker assemblies with the motor, comprising:

    a remote supervisory control and data acquisition, SCADA, configured to command and communicate with a programmable logic control, PLC;

    a communication system between the PLC on one of the tracker assemblies and the SCADA;

    a command sent by SCADA to the PLC to prompt the motor to move the tracker assemblies;

    a sensor configured to sense whether the tracker assemblies are moving;

    the PLC configured to enter into a first obstruction clearing mode, OCM1, if the tracker assemblies are not moving, the OCM1 comprising an OCM1 adjustable predetermined time period, wherein the OCM1 comprises an adjustable first frequency series of prompts to the tracker assemblies to move, via command from the SCADA;

    the PLC further configured to enter into a second obstruction clearing mode, OCM2, if the tracker assemblies are not moving after the OCM1 time period, the OCM2 comprising an OCM2 adjustable predetermined time period, wherein the OCM2 comprises an adjustable second frequency series of prompts to the tracker assemblies to move, via command from the SCADA; wherein the second frequency is lower than the first frequency; and

    the PLC further configured to cease movement attempts if the tracker assemblies are not moving after the OCM2 time period, via command from the SCADA.


     
    7. The system of claim 6 wherein the SCADA is configured to remotely monitor the movement of the tracker assemblies.
     
    8. The system of claim 6 wherein the sensor for monitoring movement of the tracker assemblies comprises a member from the group consisting of a sensor for measuring clutch slippage, a movement sensor and a sensor for measuring power consumed by the motor.
     
    9. The system of claim 6 further comprising the PLC being configured to enter into a normal mode if the tracker assemblies move correctly during the OCM1 or OCM2 modes.
     
    10. The system of claim 6 further comprises the SCADA being configured to notify maintenance personnel of a malfunction condition after the OCM2 time period.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Verfahren zum Anpassen einer Dauer und Häufigkeit von Obstruktionsaufhebungsmodi für einen Motor eines verbundenen Nachführungssystems zum Betreiben einer Vielzahl von individuellen Sonnennachführungsbaugruppen mit dem Motor, wobei das Verfahren die folgenden Schritte umfasst:

    a) Bereitstellen eines Kommunikationssystems zwischen einer integrierten Steuerung an einer der Nachführungsbaugruppen und einer externen Überwachungssteuerung und Datenerfassung (remote supervisory control and data acquisition, SCADA) (180);

    b) Übermitteln einer Aufforderung an den Motor, die Nachführungsbaugruppen zu bewegen (10);

    c) Erfassen (21), ob sich die Nachführungsbaugruppen bewegen (162);

    d) Eintreten in einen ersten Obstruktionsaufhebungsmodus (first obstruction clearing mode, OCM1), (168) wenn sich die Nachführungsbaugruppen nicht bewegen, wobei der OCM1 (168) einen einstellbaren vorbestimmten OCM1-Zeitraum umfasst, wobei der OCM1 eine verstellbare erste Häufigkeitsreihe von Aufforderungen an die Nachführungsbaugruppen umfasst, sich zu bewegen;

    e) Eintreten in einen zweiten Obstruktionsaufhebungsmodus (OCM2) (176), wenn sich die Nachführungsbaugruppen nach dem OCM1-Zeitraum nicht bewegen, wobei der OCM2 (176) einen einstellbaren vorbestimmten OCM2-Zeitraum umfasst,
    wobei der OCM2 eine einstellbare zweite Häufigkeitsreihe von Aufforderungen an die Nachführungsbaugruppen umfasst, sich zu bewegen; wobei die zweite Häufigkeit niedriger als die erste Häufigkeit ist; und

    f) Beenden von Bewegungsversuchen, wenn sich die Nachführungsbaugruppen nach dem OCM2-Zeitraum nicht bewegen.


     
    2. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Schritt eines Bereitstellens eines Kommunikationssystems (180) ein entferntes Erfassen der Bewegung, ein Auffordern zur Bewegung der Nachführungsbaugruppen (154) und ein Befehlen an die Nachführungsbaugruppen, in die Modi OCM1 (168) oder OCM2 (176) einzutreten, umfasst.
     
    3. Verfahren nach Anspruch 2, wobei der Schritt eines Erfassens einer Bewegung der Nachführungsbaugruppen ein Mitglied aus der Gruppe bestehend aus einem Messen von Kupplungsschlupf, einem Bewegungssensor und einem Messen einer Stromaufnahme durch den Motor umfasst.
     
    4. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, ferner umfassend ein Eintreten in einen normalen Modus, wenn sich die Nachführungsbaugruppen während der Modi OCM1 (168) oder OCM2 (176) korrekt bewegen.
     
    5. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, ferner umfassend ein Benachrichtigen von Wartungspersonal bezüglich eines Störungszustands nach dem OCM2-Zeitraum, und/oder ferner umfassend ein Entfernen von Strom zu dem Motor zwischen Versuchen, um die Nachführungsbaugruppen während dem Modus OCM1 (168) und dem Modus OCM2 (176) zu bewegen.
     
    6. System zum Anpassen der Dauer und Häufigkeit von Obstruktionsaufhebungsmodi für einen Motor eines verbundenen Nachführungssystems zum Betreiben einer Vielzahl von individuellen Sonnennachführungsbaugruppen mit dem Motor, umfassend:

    eine entfernte Überwachungssteuerung und Datenerfassung (SCADA), die konfiguriert ist, um eine speicherprogrammierbare Steuerung (SPS) zu befehlen und mit dieser zu kommunizieren;

    ein Kommunikationssystem zwischen der SPS an einer der Nachführungsbaugruppen und der SCADA;

    einen Befehl, der von SCADA an die SPS übermittelt wird, um den Motor aufzufordern, die Nachführungsbaugruppen zu bewegen;

    einen Sensor, der konfiguriert ist, um zu erfassen, ob sich die Nachführungsbaugruppen bewegen;

    wobei die SPS konfiguriert ist, um in einen ersten Obstruktionsaufhebungsmodus (OCM1) einzutreten, wenn sich die Nachführungsbaugruppen nicht bewegen, wobei der OCM1 einen einstellbaren vorbestimmten OCM1-Zeitraum umfasst, wobei der OCM1 eine einstellbare erste Häufigkeitsreihe von Aufforderungen an die Nachführungsbaugruppen umfasst, sich zu bewegen, über einen Befehl von der SCADA;

    wobei die SPS ferner konfiguriert ist, um in einen zweiten Obstruktionsaufhebungsmodus (OCM2) einzutreten, wenn sich die Nachführungsbaugruppen nach dem OCM1-Zeitraum nicht bewegen, wobei der OCM2 einen verstellbaren vorbestimmten OCM2-Zeitraum umfasst, wobei der OCM2 eine verstellbare zweite Häufigkeitsreihe von Aufforderungen an die Nachführungsbaugruppen umfasst, sich zu bewegen, über einen Befehl von der SCADA; wobei die zweite Häufigkeit niedriger als die erste Häufigkeit ist; und

    wobei die SPS ferner konfiguriert ist, um Bewegungsversuche zu beenden, wenn sich die Nachführungsbaugruppen nach dem OCM2-Zeitraum nicht bewegen, über einen Befehl von der SCADA.


     
    7. System nach Anspruch 6, wobei die SCADA konfiguriert ist, um die Bewegung der Nachführungsbaugruppen entfernt zu überwachen.
     
    8. System nach Anspruch 6, wobei der Sensor zum Überwachen einer Bewegung der Nachführungsbaugruppen ein Mitglied aus der Gruppe bestehend aus einem Sensor zum Messen von Kupplungsschlupf, einem Bewegungssensor und einem Sensor zum Messen einer Stromaufnahme durch den Motor umfasst.
     
    9. System nach Anspruch 6, ferner umfassend die SPS, die konfiguriert ist, um in einen normalen Modus einzutreten, wenn sich die Nachführungsbaugruppen während den Modi OCM1 oder OCM2 korrekt bewegen.
     
    10. System nach Anspruch 6, ferner umfassend die SCADA, die konfiguriert ist, um Wartungspersonal bezüglich eines Störungszustands nach dem OCM2-Zeitraum zu benachrichtigen.
     


    Revendications

    1. Procédé d'ajustement d'une durée et d'une fréquence de modes de dégagement d'obstruction pour un moteur d'un système suiveur lié pour entraîner une pluralité d'ensembles suiveurs solaires individuels avec le moteur, le procédé comprenant les étapes de :

    a) la fourniture d'un système de communication entre un dispositif de commande intégré sur un des ensembles suiveurs et un système de télésurveillance et d'acquisition de données (SCADA) (180) ;

    b) l'envoi d'une invite au moteur pour mettre en mouvement les ensembles suiveurs (10) ;

    c) la détection (21) que les ensembles suiveurs sont, ou ne sont pas, en mouvement (162) ;

    d) l'entrée dans un premier mode de dégagement d'obstruction, OCM1, (168) si les ensembles suiveurs ne sont pas en mouvement, l'OCM1 (168) comprenant une période prédéterminée ajustable d'OCM1, dans lequel l'OCM1 comprend une série à première fréquence ajustable d'invites pour les ensembles suiveurs pour se mettre en mouvement ;

    e) l'entrée dans un second mode de dégagement d'obstruction, OCM2, (176) si les ensembles suiveurs ne sont pas en mouvement après la période d'OCM1, l'OCM2 (176) comprenant une période prédéterminée ajustable d'OCM2,
    dans lequel l'OCM2 comprend une série à seconde fréquence ajustable d'invites pour les ensembles suiveurs pour se mettre en mouvement ; dans lequel la seconde fréquence est plus basse que la première fréquence ; et

    f) la cessation de tentatives de mouvement si les ensembles suiveurs ne sont pas en mouvement après la période d'OCM2.


     
    2. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'étape de la fourniture d'un système de communication (180) comprend la télédétection du mouvement, l'invitation du mouvement des ensembles suiveurs (154) et l'instruction aux ensembles suiveurs d'entrer dans les modes OCM1 (168) ou OCM2 (176).
     
    3. Procédé selon la revendication 2, dans lequel l'étape de la détection de mouvement des ensembles suiveurs comprend un élément du groupe constitué de : la mesure d'un glissement d'embrayage, un capteur de mouvement, et la mesure de la puissance consommée par le moteur.
     
    4. Procédé selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre l'entrée dans un mode normal si les ensembles suiveurs entrent correctement en mouvement durant les modes OCM1 (168) ou OCM2 (176).
     
    5. Procédé selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre la notification, à du personnel de maintenance, d'une condition de mauvais fonctionnement après la période d'OCM2 et/ou comprenant en outre la suppression de la puissance pour le moteur entre des tentatives pour mettre en mouvement les ensembles suiveurs durant le mode OCM1 (168) et le mode OCM2 (176).
     
    6. Système pour ajuster la durée et la fréquence de modes de dégagement d'obstruction pour un moteur d'un système suiveur lié pour entraîner une pluralité d'ensembles suiveurs solaires individuels avec le moteur, comprenant :

    un système de télésurveillance et d'acquisition de données, SCADA, configuré pour donner des instructions à, et communiquer avec, une commande logique programmable, PLC ;

    un système de communication entre la PLC sur un des ensembles suiveurs et le SCADA ;

    une instruction, envoyée par SCADA à la PLC, pour fournir une invite au moteur pour mettre en mouvement les ensembles suiveurs ;

    un capteur configuré pour détecter que les ensembles suiveurs sont, ou ne sont pas, en mouvement ;

    la PLC étant configurée pour entrer dans un premier mode de dégagement d'obstruction, OCM1, si les ensembles suiveurs ne sont pas en mouvement, l'OCM1 comprenant une période prédéterminée ajustable d'OCM1,

    dans lequel l'OCM1 comprend une série à première fréquence ajustable d'invites pour les ensembles suiveurs pour se mettre en mouvement, par l'intermédiaire d'une instruction provenant du SCADA ;

    la PLC étant en outre configurée pour entrer dans un second mode de dégagement d'obstruction, OCM2, si les ensembles suiveurs ne sont pas en mouvement après la période d'OCM1, l'OCM2 comprenant une période prédéterminée ajustable d'OCM2,

    dans lequel l'OCM2 comprend une série à seconde fréquence ajustable d'invites pour les ensembles suiveurs pour se mettre en mouvement, par l'intermédiaire d'une instruction provenant du SCADA ; dans lequel la seconde fréquence est plus basse que la première fréquence ; et

    la PLC étant en outre configurée pour cesser des tentatives de mouvement si les ensembles suiveurs ne sont pas en mouvement après la période d'OCM2, par l'intermédiaire d'une instruction provenant du SCADA.


     
    7. Système selon la revendication 6, dans lequel le SCADA est configuré pour télésurveiller le mouvement des ensembles suiveurs.
     
    8. Système selon la revendication 6, dans lequel le capteur pour surveiller le mouvement des ensembles suiveurs comprend un élément du groupe constitué de : un capteur pour mesurer un glissement d'embrayage, un capteur de mouvement, et un capteur pour mesurer la puissance consommée par le moteur.
     
    9. Système selon la revendication 6, comprenant en outre la PLC étant configurée pour entrer dans un mode normal si les ensembles suiveurs entrent correctement en mouvement durant les modes OCM1 ou OCM2.
     
    10. Système selon la revendication 6, comprenant en outre le SCADA étant configuré pour notifier, à du personnel de maintenance, une condition de mauvais fonctionnement après la période d'OCM2.
     




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    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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    Patent documents cited in the description