Feasibility of Using Solar Panels on Cars to Power the Onboard Air Conditioning Unit Charles Lindgren Fall 2012
Overview The purpose of this project is to investigate the utilization of solar cells to provide power for an automobile’s onboard air conditioner Current vehicles generate electricity via the alternator which requires burning excess fuel Solar panels would represent a fuel cost savings as well as decreasing the vehicle’s carbon footprint
Project Phases • Investigation into the variety of AC units that are used in different cars and how much power is required for each of them • Available types of solar panel technology and how the theoretical power generation of each of these technologies compares to the power required for each AC unit • Survey sunlight and available power across the United States to determine which areas of the country would represent the worst case scenario. The incident angle of the sunlight on the solar panel and the average amount of sunlight play heavily into the energy storage required in the form of batteries • Determine if additional onboard batteries are required during nighttime travel, cloudy days, or periods of excessive usage • Compile results from the previous phases to determine if this design is feasible. If it is not feasible determine what sort of changes are necessary and find the one which is the most realistic to improve upon.