Power & Energy

Solar powered drones: A new thought to ponder


It has been a wonder how the drones will perform if solar panels were the source of power. The biggest problem the design will face is the size of the panels. It will be a remarkable idea if the drones had unlimited power to fly during the day. This initiative taken by the a group of students hailing from the National University of Singapore has defined how a drone can be powered by solar panels and at what size the drones can become ideal.

As per their new design, the drone looks like a thin sheet with propellers at the top. The main motive of the team was to find the right mass and volume of the drone that can easily run the process using solar energy.

The team designed a formula.

P = eAEcosθ, where,

P = solar power

e = efficiency of the panels used to draw solar power

A = Area provided by the solar panels to draw power

E = power of the sun rays hitting the earth surface

The calculation from the equation will determine the output power needed. The power needed will be determined by the gravitational force, rotors used to propel air down, and the mass of the drones. There are many other factors that also affect the calculated power needed to run the drone with limitless solar energy. The simulations run by the team has given a good output that can be used to build a greener drone that does not need fossil fuel-generated electricity to charge the batteries. 

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