Feasibility of Harvesting Solar Energy for Self-Powered Environmental Wireless Sensor Nodes
Energy harvesting has a vital role in building reliable Environmental Wireless Sensor Networks (EWSNs), without needing to replace a discharged battery. Solar energy is one of the main renewable energy sources that can be used to efficiently charge a battery. This paper introduces two solar energy harvesters and their power measurements at different light conditions in order to charge rechargeable AA batteries powering EWSN nodes. The first harvester is a primitive energy harvesting circuit
... vesting circuit that is built using elementary off-shelf components, while the second harvester is based on a commercial boost converter chip. To prove the effectiveness of harvesting solar energy, five EWSN nodes were distributed at a nature reserve (the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania, USA) and the sunlight at their locations was recorded for more than five months. For each recorded illumination, the corresponding harvested energy has been estimated and compared with the average energy consumption of the EWSN with the most power consumption. The results show that the daily harvested energy effectively compensates for the energy consumption of the EWSN nodes, and the battery charge capacity of 295 mAh can reliably support their daily dynamic energy consumption.