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Award Letter - Solar Car

Posted by Sarthak Prasad on June 30, 2015

This project is to build and test a scaled-down prototype of the electrical system of a solar car. The major parts of this prototype are the solar array, maximum power point trackers (MPPT), rechargeable batteries, and a load. The solar array will be made of flexible silicon crystalline solar cells encapsulated (to protect from debris and enhance performance) and mounted on a contoured composite panel that mimics the surface of our car body. The applicant will design and build our own MPPT which is a variable DC/DC boost converter that raises the voltage of their array. The MPPT has a feedback loop control to ensure maximum output from the array under different insolation and temperatures. The rechargeable batteries will be Li-ion batteries that will act as a buffer energy source when sunlight is not available or is insufficient to power the system. Although Li-ion batteries have a high energy density, they require a battery management system to ensure safe and optimal operation. Thus, they will purchase a battery management system that is suitable for our car. Lastly, the energy generated by the solar array will power a load, which will be a motor planned to be borrowed from another team.