Small Solar Panels for Wireless Sensor Systems
Solar Capture Technologies (SCT) were commissioned by Newcastle based company Envirowatch to design and build a small solar panel to power a wireless sensor device that collects real time air quality, noise, climate and traffic data.
The client required a small solar panel for their low cost, low power consumption environmental quality monitoring device that allows data to be recorded at a high spatial and temporal resolution and accessed in real time.
They required the modules to power their E-MOTE device which was designed to be small enough to be placed on existing street furniture in an unobtrusive manner. This means it is able to detect the levels of pollutants that the population walking along a street is actually exposed to, rather than a misrepresentative reading which may be given by larger units set back from roadsides and pedestrian walkways.
The small solar panels were manufactured by SCT using high efficiency mono-crystalline silicon solar cells on an aluminium substrate. They were designed specifically to fit the shape and design of their device. Matt black anodized aluminium was used as a backing sheet and the silver electrical busbars were masked to make the modules as unobtrusive as possible.
High performance Teflon was selected as a cover material for the modules as it has better light transmittance than solar glass and allows a thinner, more durable module to be fabricated.
A number of panels have been shipped and the E-MOTE is currently installed in areas across the UK.
Additional images courtesy of Envirowatch Ltd.