ASTrA is a stand-alone electronics board that drives a brushless DC motor (BLDC) to provide single-axis solar tracking. The ASI developed algorithm is capable of pointing panels toward the sun to 1 degree accuracy mounted on either a vertical or horizontal pole. The main electronics board accepts a DC power source and can optionally be delivered with an AC power module that will power the unit from all worldwide AC power standards. ASTrA utilizes a micro-GPS receiver to determine the position of the sun anywhere in the world with no input or programming required by the user. PV tracking systems that rely on finding the sun by tracking solar panel output power are negatively affected by weather and require an electrical interface between the tracker and panel. The GPS tracking method provides accurate pointing within minutes of being powered on and ensures maximum power production during periods of intermittent cloud cover. Throughout the development of ASTrA, the team at ASI leveraged their spacecraft expertise to produce a robust and reliable product designed to continuously operate under all weather conditions for many years with very low power consumption. ASTrA has passed a rigorous test program and is currently in production.
ASI has partnered with the Hansen Corporation to integrate the ASTrA controller into an actuator capable of rotating large solar panel arrays. This actuator can be retrofitted onto existing solar panel structures or included in new installations to instantly increase the power production from a given solar array or generate the same power with a much smaller panel. This product represents a transformation in the solar industry to cost-effective, reliable tracking for every solar installation.
The animations below demonstrate the tremendous efficiency gains achieved by implementing ASTrA tracking technology.