Working on the energy box and laying the solar panels

Laying the Solar Panels - TU Delft Solar Boat Team

Hello! I am Esperanza, a first year Sustainable Energy Technology (SET) master student and member of the electronics department of the TU Delft Solar Boat Team. 

This past months I have been busy finishing all the tasks I had worked on the previous months. I have mainly been working with the energy box and the solar panels. I am happy to say that all the components of the energy box are already in place, connected and working! The cooling plate of the motor controller with the water channels is also working well and already attached.  We first had to make many tests to make sure that no water was leaking, since the plate is placed inside the box where most of all the electronic components are placed. We tested the cooling system with different flows and after changing a connector that did not seem very reliable we considered the system was robust enough. We also finalized some small details like 3D printing small holders for the PCBs that we then attached to the walls of the box and made the copper busbars to connect the different devices.

The solar modules arrived in May. The solar cells are SunPower solar cells with a theoretical efficiency of around 24%, and laminated by our partner Solbian. The lamination is crucial to protect the cells and also to reduce reflection, but even more in our case since they will be in contact with water. In the 2018 solar boat we will be using 9 m2 os solar cells which is the maximum allowed in this year's competition for silicon solar cells. We tested the modules in the PV lab in EWI. From the test we obtained the IV curve of each panel, which we used to match the modules in the most efficient way. The boat will count with 12 arrays and 12 mppts (maximum power point trackers) and we want to ensure that we arrange the arrays in the smartest way to get the maximum power possible! After that, we soldered all the cables to the panels and attached them to the boat, always making sure that the inside of the boat remains water tight and that all the cables are well isolated and not conducting to the carbon fiber of the deck. 

The Solar Boat is already looking for enthusiasts students who will form next year's team so I encourage everyone looking for a challenge to apply. The boat launch will be the 1st of May and it will be a great chance to get to know the current team and to see the result of the hard work!