Mobile Autonomous Solar Tracking System

The BYU Department of Anthropology regularly conducts digs in remote locations with no access to grid electrical power. As a leader in technologically-advanced archaeology methods, the Department has specific electrical requirements even while away from reliable sources of power. At the start of the 2016-2017 academic school year, Scott Ure and Mike Searcy of the Department of Anthropology tasked team SolarArk with developing a portable solar power station to be used in their digs.

After consideration of various options, SolarArk determined that a two-axis tilting, rotating solar tracking system mounted to the

Department’s trailer would best meet their needs. The solar tracking system was designed to be durable and weather-proof, and was built atop a sturdy frame that was welded to the trailer. A controller that uses a GPS sensor to determine the sun’s position to ensure that the solar panels always face the sun was developed. The solar tracking system provides the Department of Anthropology with the power they need and its autonomous design allows it to operate with minimal human interaction.

Scott Ure and Mike Searcy plan to employ the solar tracking system on future digs to provide for their power needs. The solar tracking system will also serve as a demonstration of the Department of Anthropology’s interest in the use of pioneering technology in the advancement of their research. The hope is that it will motivate potential donors to contribute to the advancement of their department.

School Year (term): 
2016-2017
Sponsor: 
BYU Department of Anthropology
Team Name: 
SolarArk
Coach: 
Aaron Hawkins
Team Members: 
Austin Foster, Brittany Stark, Daniel Snow, Jacob Neilsen, Jacob Titensor, Justin Roberts

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