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Proceedings Paper

Procedure to determine module distribution within a solar array to increase the net energy collection in a solar competition vehicle
Author(s): Nicolás Suárez-Castañeda; Ana Gil-Herrera; Jorge Barrera-Velásquez; Gilberto Osorio-Gómez; Ricardo Mejía-Gutiérrez
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Paper Abstract

In solar vehicle competition, the available space for installation of the solar panel in the car is limited. In order to optimize space, it is difficult not to install solar modules in areas impacted by shadows, even if they cause reduction of efficiency in the overall photoelectric generation. Shadow patterns arise from the relative position of the sun to the earth, and the relative position of the vehicle towards both of them. Since vehicle, earth and sun are moving in semi-predictable patterns, computer simulations can cross and match data from such sources to forecast generation behavior. The outputs of such simulations are shadow patterns on the surface of the vehicle, indicating locations that are suitable or unsuitable to install solar cells. This paper will show the design procedure of the solar panel for a Challenger Class solar vehicle that participated in the World Solar Challenge 2013, intended to increase the net energy collection. The results obtained, illustrate how the employment of a computational tool can help in the acquisition of both qualitative and quantitative information, related to shadows position and their impact on energy collection. With data inputs such as vehicle geometry and its relative position towards the route, the tool was used to evaluate different possible configurations of solar panel module distribution and select the ones that are more convenient to the given scenario. Therefore, this analysis allows improving the solar panel design by considering important variables that were often overlooked.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 June 2014
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 9115, Energy Harvesting and Storage: Materials, Devices, and Applications V, 91150V (5 June 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2052885
Show Author Affiliations
Nicolás Suárez-Castañeda, Univ. EAFIT (Colombia)
Ana Gil-Herrera, Univ. EAFIT (Colombia)
Jorge Barrera-Velásquez, Univ. EAFIT (Colombia)
Gilberto Osorio-Gómez, Univ. EAFIT (Colombia)
Ricardo Mejía-Gutiérrez, Univ. EAFIT (Colombia)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9115:
Energy Harvesting and Storage: Materials, Devices, and Applications V
Nibir K. Dhar; Palani Balaya; Achyut K. Dutta, Editor(s)

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