Sizing Solar Energy Harvesters for Wireless Sensor Networks
May 28, 2013 | 3:30am - 4:10am
One benefit of Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) is the lack of wires – for sensor data or power. Historically, batteries have been used to provide “wireless power” but batteries need to be replaced at some point. Photovoltaic technology has improved dramatically in efficiency and cost to the point where they are an excellent candidate for energy harvesting for WSNs. This presentation provides an engineering based approach to sizing and implementing a solar power harvester to support the power, reliability, and cost profile needed by wireless sensor devices. Topics covered will include the types of solar cells available, the size of cells that should be selected, the energy storage options when sunlight isn’t present, and the considerations when designing the energy harvesting circuitry. This presentation is based on work and designs implemented in the creation of a solar energy harvester for a wireless sensor network device.