A 13-year-old student from California has designed a computer operating system that solar panels use to reference atmospheric data and adjust their positions accordingly. The new “data driven dual axis solar tracker” could do away with more inaccurate local sensory arrays, instead “tilting” the panels towards the exact position of our sun at all times by referencing satellite data.
Georgia Hutchinson from the small town of Woodside, California won first place in the Broadcom Masters Nationwide STEM competition for middle school students. Her computer tracking system utilizes open source data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to keep an eye on the position of our sun at all times. That way clumsy optical sensors don’t have to take the extra time to adjust solar panels after exposure to light.
In the case of intermittent overcast for example, adjustment doesn’t lag behind sudden openings in cloud coverage. Furthermore, her computer models are notably accurate – scoring within 5% of the actual results gleaned from official testing. The student says she is currently working alongside a lawyer to help patent her invention.