by MidnightMaker @ instructables.com:
This is a Solar Tracker. A full size, internet cloud connected, smartphone accessible Solar Tracker built mainly from 2x4s and plywood, employing wooden peg gears, recycled curtain poles, nuts, bolts and threaded rod. The solar tracker uses a home built electronic controller incorporating WiFi, stepper motor drives, accelerometer and magnetometer. The tracker was designed to drive a full size 90W panel in azimuth and elevation. The gears driving the tracker are wooden peg gears commonly used in the 16th century. The gears were designed using modern 3D CAD (Solidworks). Connecting the wooden peg gears to the internet cloud just seemed like the right thing to do. This is not a waterproof design – you will need to consider modifications to waterproof your derivative design.
Solar Tracker in the Internet Cloud - [Link]
New solar power material converts 90 percent of captured light into heat via phys.org
A multidisciplinary engineering team at the University of California, San Diego developed a new nanoparticle-based material for concentrating solar power plants designed to absorb and convert to heat more than 90 percent of the sunlight it captures. The new material can also withstand temperatures greater than 700 degrees Celsius and survive many years outdoors in spite of exposure to air and humidity. Their work, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot program, was published recently in two separate articles in the journal Nano Energy.
New solar power material converts 90 percent of captured light into heat - [Link]
Environmental energy harvesting is a possible source of power for Internet of Things (IoT) sensor nodes but needs careful management. Unless harvesters based on solar or thermal technology, for example, are designed to be compatible with conventional circuits, DC/DC converters need to be optimized for low-voltage inputs.
Sensor nodes for the Internet of Things often need to placed well away from a reliable power source but operate for many years. Although long storage-life batteries provide one option for powering these devices, an increasingly viable alternative is the use of environmental energy harvesting, using sources such as light, vibration and temperature differentials.
Power Conversion Options for Energy Harvesting IoT Nodes - [Link]
Colin Johnson @ nextgenlog.blogspot.com:
Hybrid solar cells that harvest all of the suns energy, instead of just a few narrow bands, could transform the energy economies worldwide: R. Colin Johnson @EETimes
Hybrid Solar Cells Promise 95% Efficiency - [Link]
This Arduino Nano controlled solar battery charger can charge a standard lead acid 12V battery and runs with 90% efficiency under 70ᵒC (158ᵒF). The circuit can take up to 24V input from the solar panels. The maximum power point tracking is implemented in the circuit by measuring the output voltage and current from the solar panel to get the maximum possible power from it.
Solar battery charge controller - [Link]
This application note describes a DC-to-AC converter design, specifically targeted at converting highly variable energy from a solar panel into a form that can be directly connected to the power grid. This emphasizes on the control design and how PSoC 5LP is employed for a particular power topology.
Solar microinverter - [Link]
by Boris Landoni:
This robot will mow the grass of your garden, staying within a defined area, avoiding all obstacles and working in complete autonomy, automatically charging itself with a solar panel.
In this post we present a robotic lawn mower, powered with solar energy and able to operate just with the clean energy from the sun; this one is a great difference from the commercial projects having a robot in need of a charging station connected to the electrical grid.
A Robotic lawn mower powered by Solar Energy with an Arduino heart - [Link]
Here’s a cool Solar scare mosquito project by Gallactronics. He writes:
So I built a device that generates air bubbles at regular intervals and effectively produces ripples up to a radius of 2 meters (sufficient for most urban water bodies). The device automatically switches on when it comes in contact with water an alarm alerts if the water body dries up or someone tries to remove the device from water. At less than $10, the device is cost effective and being solar powered, it is energy independent and maintenance-free.
Solar scare mosquito - [Link]
by sajjad Haidar @ edn.com:
Power supplies with adjustable DC output ranging from 0V to 30V or 60V are on the market. Above 60V, there are not many. This Design Idea offers a solution.
There are many fixed voltage switching mode power supplies (SMPS) available, and connecting several in series can give us a higher fixed voltage. To obtain an adjustable output either from a SMPS or conventional transformer based supply, one needs to use a linear regulator or a switched mode buck converter. For a buck converter, a MOSFET or an IGBT can be used as a switching element.
Usually, for a high side switch, an IC with bootsrap operation or a pulse transformer is used. There are few photovoltaic couplers available to drive MOSFETs. As they do not provide much current to charge the gate capacitance quickly, these photovoltaic couplers are mainly used to drive low frequency MOSFET switches, such as solid state relays.
Variable HV power supply employs photovoltaic optocoupler - [Link]
kurtscottage @ youtube.com writes:
In this video I’m showing you how I built some solar panels from start to finish I tried to make it as detailed as possible. These panels cost me very little to build and are fun projects for everyone. This is just one way of doing this there are lot’s of others doing this and good videos out there. Presently I’m using my panels at a job site where there is no electricity available they are running my RV off the grid. These panels are not encapsulated but they work well and low cost not for on roof installation best to be close to ground for inspection.
Homemade Solar Panels Diy tutorial - [Link]