Portable Solar Panel Idea?

  • Thread starter Katie_Bear
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(I would've put this in the homework section except it didn't follow the template.. :P I'm really sorry)

For a Science Fair project I want to make a portable energy source with solar panels. I'm thinking of making a cube of panels with the deep cycle battery within the cube. Then to make it more structurally sound I could put a plexiglass sphere around the cube with supports holding the cube in the middle.

I'm wondering if I could place a mirror in the sphere (or replace part of the plastic sphere with a mirror) to make the panels more efficient? Does this make any sense? I'm thinking the mirror would take up most of the bottom half of the sphere when it's on the ground... Or would multiple mirrors be better if I do end up using mirrors.

Would putting the battery within an enclosed spot like this turn out very, very bad?

Would the sphere plus the glass covering create too much shadow over the cells to create enough energy?

I just started throwing this idea around so I haven't really attempted to put any specs together yet, but I'm assuming this would have to be pretty large to be worthwile. About the size of a fitness orb maybe?

Is this even a feasible project? i just figured that since they banned volcanoes I should go all out ;D.

Or should I just give'r and see what happens?
 

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berkeman
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(I would've put this in the homework section except it didn't follow the template.. :P I'm really sorry)

For a Science Fair project I want to make a portable energy source with solar panels. I'm thinking of making a cube of panels with the deep cycle battery within the cube. Then to make it more structurally sound I could put a plexiglass sphere around the cube with supports holding the cube in the middle.

I'm wondering if I could place a mirror in the sphere (or replace part of the plastic sphere with a mirror) to make the panels more efficient? Does this make any sense? I'm thinking the mirror would take up most of the bottom half of the sphere when it's on the ground... Or would multiple mirrors be better if I do end up using mirrors.

Would putting the battery within an enclosed spot like this turn out very, very bad?

Would the sphere plus the glass covering create too much shadow over the cells to create enough energy?

I just started throwing this idea around so I haven't really attempted to put any specs together yet, but I'm assuming this would have to be pretty large to be worthwile. About the size of a fitness orb maybe?

Is this even a feasible project? i just figured that since they banned volcanoes I should go all out ;D.

Or should I just give'r and see what happens?
Welcome to the PF!

It will be most efficient if you can have the sunlight hit all of the solar cells at normal incidence (straight on). So pointing cells away from the direction of the sun is generally not a good idea, even with some mirror setup. If you want to use mirrors to gather more light, you would probably still want to keep the panel(s) facing the sun, and put the mirrors around the edges to bounce more light onto the panel(s).

Can you do any tracking of the sun with your project? That should be the most efficient arrangement, as long as you don't use much power to move the panel(s).
 

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