A solar vehicle is driven by solar energy obtained from solar panels on the surface (generally, the top or window) of the vehicle or using a solar jacket in electric bicycles. Photovoltaic cells convert the sun's energy directly into electrical energy. Solar cars combine technology typically used in the aerospace, bicycle, alternative energy and automotive industries. Solar cars are often fitted with gauges as seen in conventional cars. In order to keep the car running smoothly, the driver must keep an eye on these gauges to spot possible problems.
Cars without gauges almost always feature wireless telemetry, which allows the driver's team to monitor the car's energy consumption, solar energy capture and other parameters and free the driver to concentrate on driving. Solar cars depend on photovoltaic cells to convert sunlight into electricity, which is stored in batteries. In fact, 51% of sunlight actually enters the Earth's atmosphere. Unlike solar thermal energy which converts solar energy to heat for either household purposes, industrial purposes or to be converted to electricity, photovoltaic cells directly convert sunlight into electricity.
When sunlight (photons) strikes photovoltaic cells, they excite electrons and allow them to flow, creating an electrical current. Photovoltaic cells are made of semiconductor materials such as
silicon and alloys of indium, gallium and nitrogen. Silicon is the most common material used and has an efficiency rate of 15-20%.
An Overview of the Solar Electric Vehicle
|Brief description of Vehicle's mechnical system|
|Brief description of Vehicle's Electrical system|
|Brief description of Vehicle's Telemetry system|