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Battery-Powered LED Street Lights Through Solar

Energy from Solar Cells


Implementation of a Solar Panel's Energy Conversion
Abrenilla, Joshua Abraham T.1, Ambayan, Brendan PG A.2, Lobrigas, Jake C.3, Tan, Angelito O. Jr.4
Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering
University of San Carlos Technological Center
Talamban, Cebu City, Philippines
1
joshieabre@gmail.com, 2iambrendangpg@gmail.com, 3j.lobrigas0486@gmail.com, 4junjuntan123@gmail.com
Abstract Recent severe energy crisis is becoming alarming
especially in remote places in which no power grids have been
installed. This has forced the world to develop and innovate new
alternative methods of power generation, which can be placed in
remote areas and provide energy in a certain area by converting
natural resources such as sunlight into an electrical energy. In
this project, solar energy is being manifested in order to be
converted into electrical energy to power up LED strips placed in
water bottles in order to light-up places in the city that lack
lightings. The solar panel was designed to have a battery that
stores the captured energy of the solar panel during daylight and
it uses this stored energy into an electrical form in order to
power-up LED strips depending on the light the solar panel
receives, basically the LED strips increase in intensity of light it
emits depending on the amount of light the solar panel receives.
The designed circuit enables the LED strips to light-up during
night time or when the solar panels receive less amount of light.
These LED strips purpose is to light up vicinities which require
an ample amount of lighting.

In the modern world, the demand for electricity has grown


at alarming rates to meet the needs of society. To meet these
needs, many power companies have chosen to seek alternative
sources of energy besides the fossil fuels that the current
infrastructure has become dependent upon. Along this line of
thinking, many have looked towards the sun to supply their
energy needs, as the earth receives enough solar energy in one
minute to meet the demands of one year of electricity. Many
other benefits to solar energy include the lack of pollution
directly created by these systems and their inexpensive and
viable nature. Solar energy is only restricted by weather
conditions, the time of day and the manufacturing limitations
of the system to supply power, where fossil fuels require a
finite supply of energy and involve many complications
environmentally and economically. The purpose of solar
panels is to meet the growing demand for renewable energy
resources.

KeywordsSolar Panels, Battery, LED Strips, energy crisis,


electrical energy, daylight, night time

II. OBJECTIVES

I. INTRODUCTION/ MOTIVATION
The use of energy in buildings has increased in recent
years because of the growing demand in energy used for
heating, ventilating, air conditioning and most especially the
lighting in buildings. Owing to the consistently growing
demand, much effort has now been put towards reducing the
demand of energy for through renewable energy and energy
efficiency in design. Energy efficiency is energy intensity,
which, in simple terms, refers to the use of less energy to
provide the same level of energy service or to do more work
with the same unit of energy.
Many studies have revealed that proper use of sustainable
technology in lighting, such as the use of daylighting controls,
low energy lighting and solar panels, has a strong potential for
reducing the demand for energy in commercial and industrial
buildingsand there is potential for improving the energy
efficiency of lighting systems throughout the world.

This experiment aims to:

Convert free energy to electrical energy by making


use of the free light energy or sunlight with the use of
solar panels
Implement solar panels to act as a sensor and a
charger for the battery
Have a reliable source of free energy to be used for
street lightings
Convert electrical energy from the battery to the light
energy from the LED strip lights
Control the sensitivity of the light in the solar panel
that acts as a sensitivity switch
Help communities that have less access to light at
night
III. HOW SOLAR

PANELS WORK?

Solar Cells are the only generator in a solar


photovoltaic system, it is the most important part of a
photovoltaic system. The following information states about
the operation involved in solar panels. A solar cell is solid
state electrical device that converts energy of light directly

into electricity (DC) using the photovoltaic effect. The process


of conversion requires a material which absorbs the solar
energy, then raises an electron to a higher-energy state, and
then the flow of high energy electron to an external circuit.
Which in this case is a battery, this battery stores the energy
collected by the solar cell as long as the solar cell receives a
specified amount of light, whenever the amount of light it
receives decreases to an amount less than its threshold, the
battery uses its stored energy into an electrical energy which is
used to power up a load which in this case is a series of LED
strips enclosed in a transparent water bottle.

which would allow you to buy energy from them should you
not want to rely on batteries or generators.
Solar panels are also common in spacecraft to
generate electricity for on-board computers and other
electrical appliances. This is due largely to the fact that the
effectiveness of solar panels is not diminished in space, and
the sun is always shining which means that the craft have a
reliable source of energy without needing to carry heavy fuels
or batteries with them.
Every solar power panel contains many different
silicon cells or solar cells. Each solar cell generates a few volts
of electricity. Photons will strike the surface of these solar
cells and then generate an electrical current. The roof is the
usual place where solar power panels are installed at homes or
offices so that it gets the required amount of exposure from the
sun. The photovoltaic panels on the solar power panel convert
the solar energy into electrical energy. The electricity which is
generated through these panels is mostly DC (direct current)
IV. MATERIALS

Fig.1 Solar Panel Operation


Photovoltaic effect: The collection of light-generated carriers
does not by itself give rise to power generation. In order to
generate power, a voltage must be generated as well as a
current. Voltage is generated in a solar cell by a process known
as the photovoltaic effect. The collection of light-generated
carriers by the p-n junction causes a movement of electrons to
the n-type side and holes to the p-type side of the junction.
Under short circuit conditions, the carriers exit the device as
light-generated current.
The Uses Of Solar Power
By affixing solar panels to the roof of a house,
photovoltaic cells can be used to produce electricity which can
be used directly by the power supply of the house or,
increasingly, stored in large batteries which can be used to
power the house like a generator. Of course, if you live in a
darker region of the world, the efficiency of these solar panels
will be greatly reduced.
Solar energy can also be sold to power grids when an
excess of electricity is produced. This means that should the
sun be shining brightly, you can make use of solar cells to
power your devices and even make some money should you
generate an excess of energy. Similarly, should the sun not be
shining, you will still be hooked up to the main utility grid

The materials used in the implementation of this experiment


are the following:
Solar Panel
Circuit Board
Diodes
Potentiometer
Resistors
Wires
LED strips
Battery 12V
Electrical Tape
Soldering Lead
Plastic bottles

Bill Of Materials
*All prices are in Philippine Peso
Component
Solar Panel
Lead-Acid
Rechargeable
Battery (12)
Led Strips
Wire
PCB (2x2)
Diode
Resistors
Potentiometer
Electrical
Tape

TOTAL

Price
665
650

Quantity
1
1

Total
665
650

12
11/1 meter

10
11 meters

10
0.5
20
10

3
2
120
1

120
121
24
30
1
10
1621.00

V. METHODOLOGY
You can make a battery powered LED street lights
charged by a solar panel by first of all by having a schematic
diagram then form this having a layout design of the circuit.
After having the layout we will know what components and
materials to buy. The objective of this project is to make a
circuit that can connect the LED strips, solar panel and leadacid battery. J1 and J2 connect to the solar panel, J3 and J8
connects to the LED strips and J5 and J4 connects to the leadacid battery.
Fig.4 PCB layout printed in photo paper using laser ink

Fig.2 Schematic Diagram of the Circuit


Fig.5 Etching the PCB layout using Ferric Chloride

Fig.6 The PCB circuit after etching


Fig.3 PCB layout of the Circuit
Then the circuit was printed out in a photo paper
using laser ink so that we can etch this on the PCB using the
acetone method. Acetone method is done first by cutting the
pcb layout and have an estimated same size pcb as the
printout. Then the PCB cleaned using a sand paper then placed
acetone on the copper surface, then immediately place the cutout printed PCB layout then pour more acetone to ensure that
it is soaked in it. A book was used to make the make sure that
the printout is equally placed on the PCB and placed some
pressure on it. After a few minutes we removed the printout by
means of water and by now the laser ink should be sticking on
the PCB.

The next step was placing all the necessary


components on the PCB then soldered the components on to
the PCB. Then the necessary wires were also soldered on the
PCB because there is where we will attach the connections for
the solar panel, LED strips and battery. Then we first attached
the PCB to the lead-acid batteries to its respective connections
but before it is connected a switch must first be placed before
the battery and PCB will connect.

Then the LED strips were placed inside water bottle


to make them all weather-proof to make it durable in the
outdoor environment. Holes were made on the bottle cap to let
LED strips slip through inside the bottle. And then holes
below the bottle to avoid moist especially when it is exposed
outdoor and prolong the life of the LED. The holes where the
LED went through were placed with Elastoseal so that water
from rain wont go inside the bottle and not destroy the LED.

Fig.7 Soldering the components and wires

Fig.10 Inserting the LED strips inside the bottle

Fig.8 Attaching the switch before connecting to battery


The next step was connecting the LED strips in
parallel to the wires so that it will receive the same amount of
voltage. We have 10 LED strips and placed 2 strips back-toback and attached it in parallel with a distance of more or less
of 2 meters having 5 pairs of LED lights. And the connections
were soldered to ensure durability and placed electrical tape
around it to avoid shorts.

Fig.11 All LED strips were placed with bottles

Fig.9 LED strips attached in wire and connected in parallel

Fig.13 Diode connections at the back of solar panel


Fig.12 .Elastoseal placed on top of the bottle with the LED
strips inside
Then attaching the solar panel was the next step,
before attaching the solar panel some modifications were
made. A diode namely 1n4002 was connected in such a way
that electricity will only flow in one direction to avoid
permanent damage to the solar panel. To figure below shows
how the diode is connected.

Then the LED strips, battery and solar panel


connections were connected to the circuit to make the project.
The potentiometer was used to determine the sensitivity of the
solar panel so that if the sunlight is not enough the LED strips
will turn on. So basically the system turns on during the night
and then during the day the LED will turn off and the system
will recharge because of the solar panel and store it in the
lead-acid battery.
VI. DATA AND RESULTS
The following images contain the results whenever
the solar panel system is tested. These photos are not taken
based on real-time lighting (day or night) but instead, these
results were taken by simulating the amount of light received
during nighttime and day time. Whenever the switch is turned
on the solar panel system activates.

Fig.14 The Final Product

to lack of electricity present in that place. This project will be


distributed to a community that is in need of great help in this
manner. It is seen in the experiment that the solar panels
sensitivity to act as switch was implemented by constructing a
circuit with use of potentiometer. The potentiometers
adjustments will allow the LED strips to dim. This project is a
reliable source of light energy since sunlight is present
especially in the tropical weather. It is evident in the
experiment that the LED strips will light up if there is no light
absorbed in the solar panel. This project is very useful to both
the students and the community. Learning is not just for
academic purposes but for help and other practical reasons.
This project have met the expectations in terms of
functionality and performance.
Fig.15 Sensitivity adjusted so that LED will off during
daytime
Fig.15 shows the image simulated having it received a higher
amount of light. During daylight, the amount of light received
by the solar cell is high which makes the battery store energy
and not use this electricity for the LED strips.

Fig.16. Same Sensitivity and flipping the solar panel to


simulate darkness (night time)
Fig.16 shows the simulated solar panel system performance
during night time. The solar cell is placed in reverse position
so that the amount of light it receives is less. This simulates
the amount of light received by the solar panel during night
time.
CONCLUSION
Therefore, the use of solar panels is a great way to
implement the conversion of free energy to electrical energy.
This is a great aid for those whose streets are dark at night due

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
First and foremost, the researchers would like to
express their sincerest gratitude their mentor, Engr. Jaybee
Lacea, for giving them the opportunity to conduct and push
through with this research, for imparting them with kind
words of motivation and immense knowledge. The researchers
would also like to thank their parents and friends - the very
people who have provided them with the right amount of
encouragement, insights and constructive criticism which
proved very useful throughout the process.
Especially to the friends who have always been there
to give their support despite having difficulties too with their
personal projects. They never hesitated to offer some help and
show their support to the researchers. To the experts who were
involved in the validation of this research project, thank you.
Without their passionate participation and input, this research
would not have been successfully conducted. Last but not the
least, a million thanks to The Lord God Almighty. Praise be
Jesus for being the ultimate strength and bestowing upon the
researchers the will power to achieve. It is through him that
they are able with wisdom and moral values that allowed them
to think and perform with all honesty and credibility. A
thousand times Amen!

[1]

REFERENCES
http://www.conserve-energyfuture.com/HowSolarPowerPanelsWork.phpke-batteriesat-home/

[2]

http://www.conserve-energyfuture.com/HowSolarPowerPanelsWork.php

[3]
[4]

http://www.energymatters.com.au/stand-alone-power/
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