Date of Award

Spring 5-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Stamper, Richard

Second Advisor

Adams, Thomas

Third Advisor

James, Thomas


A novel solar tracker is presented that uses a parallel manipulator for the tracking mechanism instead of a traditional serial manipulator. The motivation is to create a solar tracker that displays the advantages of two-axis tracking systems (e.g., increased exposure to incident radiation, and enabling the use of efficient concentrating solar cells) while addressing some of the disadvantages of current two-axis tracking systems (e.g., the difficulties associated with having actuators mounted to moving elements within the mechanism). The mobility of the proposed parallel manipulator is examined using Grübler’s Criterion to establish that the manipulator displays the required two degrees of freedom. Additionally, a system of equations is developed for the proposed tracker that can be used for the forward or inverse kinematics analysis. Finally, the workspace of the proposed parallel manipulator-based solar tracker is presented.