FURI | Fall 2023

Maximize Solar Power by Solar Cell Reconfiguration Circuits

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Can solar power be more efficiently extracted from a reconfigurable array by minimizing the number of switches, and allowing for maximum configuration flexibility? This research motivation stems from spacecraft solar systems where array performance can degrade from 20% to 50% over a 15-year mission. This research seeks to bypass damaged cells by reconfiguring the array to allow for maximum power at the end-of-life for spacecraft systems and allow a use for currently wasted energy at the beginning of life. A similar approach can be made to bypass or reconfigure cells affected by shading on Earth and potentially improve output efficiency by 30%.

Student researcher

Patrick M. Shea Jr.

Electrical engineering

Hometown: Red House, Virginia, United States

Graduation date: Spring 2024