Date of Graduation

5-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Electrical Engineering

Advisor

McCann, Roy

Abstract

Renewable energy is becoming increasingly important as more and more countries become industrialized. Using solar power as opposed to fossil fuels and coal is becoming cheaper and easier to access throughout the world, yet there are still efficiency hurdles to be overcome. Designing a cheap, easily modifiable and reparable Maximum Power Point Tracker would be a stepping stone to bringing solar power to remote parts of the globe. Once designed and made portable, these devices could be distributed throughout developing countries to enhance renewable energy output. An Arduino-based tracker was chosen for ease of use and access. This base also allowed for easy modification and repair, and provided a stable supply chain. Simulations showed maximum power point tracking was effective in providing necessary power to load batteries. Once built, voltage and efficiency tests of the tracker showed that it increased solar panel efficiency and output. Finally, the tracker was analyzed through a financial lens, assessing the cost effectiveness for developing areas. With ever developing microelectronics and solar efficiency, a Maximum Power Point Tracker has the potential to greatly impact electricity consumption in developing countries. As electronics continue to get cheaper and more obtainable, the tracker becomes more plausible and easier to build.

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