Alignment method for solar collector arrays

United States Patent

8,294,886
October 23, 2012
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
TOPCAT Solar Cell Alignment & Energy Concentration Technology
The present invention is directed to an improved method for establishing camera fixture location for aligning mirrors on a solar collector array (SCA) comprising multiple mirror modules. The method aligns the mirrors on a module by comparing the location of the receiver image in photographs with the predicted theoretical receiver image location. To accurately align an entire SCA, a common reference is used for all of the individual module images within the SCA. The improved method can use relative pixel location information in digital photographs along with alignment fixture inclinometer data to calculate relative locations of the fixture between modules. The absolute locations are determined by minimizing alignment asymmetry for the SCA. The method inherently aligns all of the mirrors in an SCA to the receiver, even with receiver position and module-to-module alignment errors.
12/689,798
January 19, 2010
356/138;
G01B 11/26 (20060101);
356/152.2,138 136/246 126/602 372/9
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST This invention was made with Government support under contract no. DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Sandia Corporation. The Government has certain rights in the invention.