Tag Archives: Photovoltaic

Open Inverter, an open source micro-solar inverter


Ken Boak has been working on an open source micro-solar inverter project:

We wanted to make a design that uses readily obtainable N-type FETS and an Arduino (more strictly a ATmega328P-PU on a breadboard) to generate the PWM signals and provide simple circuit protection, and load sensing. With the PWM signals generated in firmware it can easily be modified for 50Hz or 60Hz operation, either 115V or 230V operation and a wide range of battery input voltages.
We imagined that the final design could consist of an Arduino, an “Inverter Shield” containing FETs and driver ICs configued in a H-bridge and some voltage and current monitoring circuits. To make the inverter a 12V or 24V battery (or PV panel) and a 12V (or 24V) torroidal transformer would be added.

Open Inverter, an open source micro-solar inverter – [Link]

Arduino based MPPT solar charge controller

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by Abid Jamal @ electronicslovers.com:

what is Mppt( Maximum power point tracking) ?
“we use MPPT algorithm to get the maximum available power from the Photovoltaic module under certain conditions”

How MPPT works ? Why 150W solar panel does not equal to 150 w?
For example you bought a new solar panel from the market which puts out 7 amps. under charge the setting of a battery is configured to 12 volts : 7 amps times 12 volts = 84w (P=V*I) You lost over 66 watts – but you paid for 150 watts. That 66 watts is not going anywhere, but it,s due to the poor match of the solar output current and battery voltage .

Arduino based MPPT solar charge controller – [Link]

Solar Cells Made Obsolete – 3D rectennas aim at 40-to-90% efficiency


R. Colin Johnson @ eetimes.com:

PORTLAND, Ore.–Now before you get all excited by the headline, which is not click-bait according to the researchers, a new kind of nanoscale rectenna (half antenna and half rectifier) can convert solar and infrared into electricity, plus be tuned to nearly any other frequency as a detector. The invention was made at Georgia Tech (Atlanta) and peer-reviewed in today’s issue of Nature Nanotechnology.

Right now efficiency is only one percent, but in the paper (DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2015.220) professor Baratunde Cola and colleagues at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech, Atlanta) convincingly argue that they can achieve 40 percent broad spectrum efficiency (double that of silicon and more even than multi-junction gallium arsenide) at a one-tenth of the cost of conventional solar cells (and with an upper limit of 90 percent efficiency for single wavelength conversion).

Solar Cells Made Obsolete – 3D rectennas aim at 40-to-90% efficiency – [Link]

Energy-harvesting power management ICs for wireless sensor nodes


by Graham Prophet @ edn-europe.com:

Cypress Semiconductor has introduced what it believes to be the lowest-available-power PMICs that enable an integrated module size of 1 cm² for solar-powered wireless sensor node (WSN) designs.

Intended to manage solar-powered wireless sensors for Internet of Things (IoT) applications, these parts are said to be the lowest-power, single-chip Energy Harvesting PMICs, and can be used with solar cells as small as 1 cm². Cypress offers a complete, battery-free energy harvesting solution that pairs the S6AE101A PMIC, the first device in the new family, with the EZ-BLE PRoC module for Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity, along with supporting software, in a $49 kit.

Energy-harvesting power management ICs for wireless sensor nodes – [Link]

Large area industrial crystalline silicon n-PERT solar cell with a record 22.5 percent efficiency


@ phys.org:

Nano-electronics research center imec announced today at Intersolar Europe, a new efficiency record for its large area n-type PERT (passivated emitter, rear totally diffused) crystalline silicon (Cz-Si) solar cell, now reaching 22.5 percent (calibrated at ISE CalLab). It is the highest efficiency achieved for a two-side-contacted solar cell processed on six inch commercially available n-type Cz-Si wafers without the use of passivated contacts.

N-type silicon solar cells are considered as promising alternatives to p-type solar cells for next generation highly efficient solar cells thanks to their ability to withstand light-induced degradation and to their higher tolerance to common metal impurities.

Large area industrial crystalline silicon n-PERT solar cell with a record 22.5 percent efficiency – [Link]

Logging harvested solar power using $15 Scorpion Board


by Pieter:

It’s undeniable that South Africa is experiencing a critical electricity crisis. On the positive side, it’s forcing us to conserve and consider alternative sources of energy. My mom sponsored our household with a cheap Chinese solar panel with battery pack and LED lights to use during load shedding (we live in Cape Town zone 6 and you can find the schedule here).

This made me wonder: how much solar power does this system harvest in one day? Enter my handy $15 Scorpion Board. I built a cheap current sensor board (using a Diodes ZXCT1051 low side current sensor IC).

Logging harvested solar power using $15 Scorpion Board – [Link]

See-through solar concentrator harvests energy from sunlight


by Amy Norcross @ edn.com:

A team of Michigan State University (MSU) researchers has created a transparent solar concentrator able to turn any window (or other sheet of glass, such as the screen for a smartphone) into a photovoltaic solar cell. What makes this development different? The panel is truly transparent.

Earlier attempts at building transparent solar cells resulted in panels with tinted glass and/or compromised visibility. Lead researcher Richard Lunt, an assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science at MSU, says, “No one wants to sit behind colored glass. It makes for a very colorful environment, like working in a disco.”

See-through solar concentrator harvests energy from sunlight – [Link]

Solar self-rechargeable Battery


This is a prototype model Battery (type C ) for electronic devices. The battery has the ability to be recharged by the sun and don’t need any battery charger. It is necessary for climbers, explorers, soldiers, free camping and general for humans who attempt in areas without infrastructure electricity. The standard can also be applied to other types of batteries and the current technology allows their development with much greater energy capacity.

Specifications of the prototype:

  • Battery 1.2v 700 mAh
  • Solar cell 1.5v 70mA

Solar self-rechargeable Battery – [Link]

120A Solar BMS charger LiFePO4,Li-ion OffGrid,RV with WiFi


The NEW Solar BMS charger for LiFePO4 or any other Li-ion battery and used for OffGrid House, RV or boats, with wireless datalogging.

 Solar BMS (Solar Battery Management System)is a solar charge controller designed to replace the Lead Acid solar charge controllers most people use today in Offgrid, RV, Boats and multiple other applications with 12V and 24V systems. Solar BMS can be used with 3 up to 8 Lithium cells (any type) or supercapacitors. The new SBMS100 will have multiple improvements over the first generation SBMS4080 see further for details.

120A Solar BMS charger LiFePO4, Li-ion OffGrid,RV with WiFi – [Link]

A basic Arduino Solar PV Monitor


by retrotext.blogspot.co.uk:

I have just recently had solar pv installed, mainly to future proof my energy costs, I do not expect it to be like drilling for oil in my back garden, however the return looks to be encouraging.

The install gives you another single unit meter, from this you will see the total amount the panels produce, but that is about it.

I wanted to know how much the production was as it was happening, I discovered the light blinks on the front of the meter will flash 1000 times for each kWh of electricity which passes through. The rate of the flashing of the LED tells you how much power is currently passing through the meter.

A basic Arduino Solar PV Monitor – [Link]