Design and Optimization of a Self-Deploying Single Axis Tracking PV Array 929244
This study was performed in order to design a tracking PV array and optimize the design for maximum specific power. The design considerations were minimal deployment time, high reliability and small stowage volume. The array design was self-deployable, from a compact stowage configuration, using a passive pressurized gas deployment mechanism. The array structural components consist of a combination of beams, columns and cables used to deploy and orient a flexible PV blanket.
Each structural component of the design was analyzed to determine the size necessary to withstand the various forces it would be subjected to. An optimization was performed to determine the array dimensions and blanket geometry which produce the maximum specific power. The optimization was performed for both lunar and Martian environments with four types of PV blankets (silicon, GaAs/Ge, GaAs CLEFT and amorphous silicon). For the lunar environment the amorphous silicon array produced the highest specific power whereas for Mars the GaAs CLEFT array produced the highest specific power. A comparison was made to a fixed PV tent array of similar design. The tracking array produced a higher specific power with all types PV blankets examined except amorphous silicon at both locations.