Solar energy, being a renewable source of energy, is remarkably beneficial for the environment and the economy. The Sun is a powerhouse of energy source, and even collecting a fraction of this energy makes a vast difference to our planet and our quality of life.
For most of us, the simplest way to provide power to an electronic circuit or robotics is to include a battery. A battery is a device that converts chemical energy into electrical energy and causes the current to flow. A battery is made of two plates of different metals, dipped in a chemical solution called an electrolyte. The two plates react with the electrolyte resulting in the flow of charges. These charges accumulate on the negative plate called the anode. The positive plate, which is the cathode, is void of these charges. This results in a voltage between the two plates. These plates are connected to external terminals. The terminals are connected to the circuit that causes the flow of current.
However, batteries have a limited life and are toxic. We need to handle them with care and dispose of them properly according to the local laws. If batteries are not disposed of properly, they end up in landfills causing emissions of greenhouse gases. Also, batteries contain toxic chemicals which get absorbed by the soil leading to harmful effects. The chemicals used in the batteries are also a significant health hazard.
Construction of a battery
Construction of Solar Panels
Considering the above factors, using solar energy to power electronics and robotics projects is a great alternative. In a solar cell, aka. a photovoltaic cell or PV Cell, the top N-layer is very thin and heavily doped. The P-layer is thick and lightly doped. This design increases the efficiency of the cell, which means the depletion region is higher, and the generation of electron-hole pairs is in a wider area when the light strikes, and hence more current is generated by the cell. Also, with a thinner N-layer, more light passes through it and reaches the depletion layer. If the depletion region is higher, the electron-hole pairs are generated in a wider area, which results in the more current generation in the PV cell.
Such PV cells are connected in series using copper strips, and these series-connected cells are connected parallel to other cell series. This forms a solar panel. Such a panel produces a current and voltage value suitable for our use. A solar panel is enclosed in Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) sheets for protection from dust, shocks, vibration, and other environmental factors such as humidity, etc.
Witblox Solar Blox
Witblox has come up with an amazing renewable energy-based solution to power all electronic projects in general and all Witblox projects in particular. The Witblox Solar Blox can replace batteries and power banks. It consists of a Solar Panel 137x80mm and an onboard supercapacitor. It delivers a voltage of 6V and a current of 250mA, which is enough to power more than four DC geared motors on a sunny day. Even on a partially sunny day, the Solar Blox can easily power two to three DC geared motors. The onboard supercapacitor ensures several rapid charge/discharge cycles. It draws the charging current from the solar panel until it charges to its maximum voltage. Once fully charged, the supercapacitor will not draw any current and will only maintain a constant voltage across it. The power thus delivered to the circuit is sufficient for most of your electronics and robotics applications.
Witblox Solar Blox
The Solar Blox is yet another ‘clean’ solution from Witblox to power your projects. Power your lamps, geared motors, or even your Arduino or Esp8266 with the Witblox Solar Blox and eliminate the use of batteries and power banks.
For a detailed review, watch my video – https://social.witblox.com/CKIvtBqSlpk3czzdxIhi
You can buy your Witblox Solar Blox from here – https://witblox.com/shop/#!/Solar-Blox/p/375820727/category=0
Authored by Shreyas S Arbatti (13)
Witblox Maker and Electronics enthusiast