June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Design in Engineering Education
14.32.1 - 14.32.8
A GreenLite System: An Efficient Solar Energy Solution Using a Sun Tracker Panel and a Light Harvesting Control Panel
Reducing high energy consumption and costs is imperative and significant to our daily life. In this paper, we describe a capstone senior design project that develops an efficient energy-saving solution. The solution is called the GreenLite system and consists of two components: a self- adjustable solar tracker panel and a light harvesting control panel.
The solar tracker panel tends to maximize the absorption of solar power. Specifically, the solar tracker panel can adjust itself automatically to the direction where the panel is directly facing the Sun. To achieve this, the component employs photo-sensors to measure the irradiance of the Sun and to provide the feedback signal on the current position of the panel. The component also uses actuators that contain motors to rotate the panel at all possible angles.
The light harvesting control panel designs a dimming fluorescent lighting system. Specifically, the system tends to reduce energy demand by diming lights proportional to the amount of daylight received, based on the measurements from photo-sensors. Moreover, this control panel is powered by the energy obtained form the solar tracker panel.
In the project, the microcontroller dspic30f4011, programmed by C++ language, is used to control the motors on the actuators. The system is also designed as sturdy and lightweight as possible for increased durability and mobility. The details of the implementation are given, and the lessons learnt are discussed.
In recent years, there have been increased interest and demand in reducing high energy consumption, avoiding environment pollution, and finding alternative energy. Solar energy is such an ideal alternative. First, solar energy provides a sustainable source for generating power and thus satisfies high energy consumption demand. Second, solar energy is green and can potentially free us from depending on polluting non-renewable sources such as coal, oil, and gas. Last, solar energy is free and can reduce the cost. Therefore, we study an efficient energy serving solution using solar energy in our capstone senior design project.
Our solution is called the GreenLite system and consists of two components:
≠ A self-adjustable solar tracker panel. The solar track panel transforms solar energy into stored electrical power. Our designed solar tracker panel tends to maximize the absorption of solar power. Specifically, the solar tracker panel can adjust itself automatically to the direction where the panel is directly facing the Sun.
≠ A light harvesting control panel. The control panel designs a dimming fluorescent lighting system. Specifically, the system tends to reduce energy demand by diming lights
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