Design and Optimisation of a Solar Array for the Flinders Solar Car

Author: Syed Wahb Rizvi

Rizvi, Syed Wahb, 2017 Design and Optimisation of a Solar Array for the Flinders Solar Car, Flinders University, School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics

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This thesis is written on the design of a solar array for the Flinders University Solar Car. Flinders Automotive Solar Team (FAST) was formed in late 2015 and aims to take part in the World Solar Challenge in 2017. The World Solar Challenge (WSC) is a solar car competition held in Australia, where cars travel 3000km from Darwin to Adelaide. During the race, the illumination of the sunlight will change continuously. Therefore, to make sure of the success of the team, an efficient design of a solar array is required.

Before designing the Photovoltaic (PV) system, a few steps need to be taken. These steps include the best solar cells selection, calculation of available area for the solar cells on the body of the car and optimal arrangement of the solar cells, as well as determining the sun position during the race.

Since Flinders University is developing a solar racing car for the first time, the work completed in this project is developed from the ground up. A selection is made to use mono-crystalline silicon cells for the design of the solar array. After that the optimum arrangement of the selected solar cells to complete the solar array design is determined. Moreover, the importance and the selection of an appropriate Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT) and encapsulation techniques are also covered in this project.

After the design of a prototype of the solar array, the thesis will include the analysis of the performance of the solar array under environmental changes. During the analytical examinations, various post-design responses including change in sunlight, change in angle of incidence and change in temperature are calculated. These responses show the impacts on the overall solar output power and efficiency of the solar array.

The platform has been established with expandability in mind. So, additional future works can be easily undertaken by another student in the following years. Future enhancement includes the addition of more solar cells in order to boost solar output, the study for more suitable encapsulation techniques and the data acquisition system of solar radiation during the competition.

Keywords: Design of Solar Array, Solar Car, Renewable Energy, World Solar Challenge, Solar Cells.

Subject: Engineering thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2017
School: School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics
Supervisor: Dr. Stuart Wildy