Modeling and Simulation of Solar Irradiance and Daylight Duration for a High-Power-Output Solar Module System


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Solar energy is the largest available renewable energy for enhancing the endurance of a solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). However, harnessing solar energy is a great challenge because the power output efficiency of solar module systems is only 15% to 30%. A solar-powered UAV has the potential to outperform a battery-powered UAV, particularly in tasks involving a pseudo satellite that requires long operating hours. Atmospheric conditions and geographical location are the main causes of the poor performance of solar modules. Despite the improvements in solar cell efficiency over the years, solar module systems can still barely convert half of the sun’s power into electricity. This limitation hinders the use of current solar module systems for harvesting solar energy. Recent studies have focused not only on the type of solar cells but also on the positioning system. However, understanding and research on the solar irradiance intensity, as well as on the effect of daylight duration on the power output, remain lacking. A comprehensive model was developed to address this gap and investigate how the movement of the sun movement affects the performance of solar module systems. This simulation model found that daylight duration is more important than available solar irradiance. Higher solar irradiance and daylight duration corresponds to a higher power output of the solar module system. Daylight duration also depends on latitude where higher latitudes lead to longer daylight duration. On the other hand, longitudinal coordinates and elevation have minor effects on the estimation of daylight duration. Therefore, the northern hemisphere has more advantages than southern hemisphere during summer and vice versa.



Edited by:

R. Varatharajoo, F.I. Romli, K.A. Ahmad, D.L. Majid and F. Mustapha




P. Rajendran et al., "Modeling and Simulation of Solar Irradiance and Daylight Duration for a High-Power-Output Solar Module System", Applied Mechanics and Materials, Vol. 629, pp. 475-480, 2014

Online since:

October 2014




* - Corresponding Author

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