Performance analysis of solar powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicle


Presented a method to calculate number of solar cells required for a solar plane to fly.

Performed detailed Energy and Power analysis to check feasibility of the design.

Integration of solar cells on to the wing was designed by considering various factors.

The combined effect of temperature and wind speed on the efficiency of solar cell was explained with experimental results.

Presented a method to calculate and improve the energy and exergy efficiency.


One of the main problems in micro Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) is endurance or flight time since the general domain aircraft use conventional fuel. Using conventional fuel is a pollutant, have a limited life and costly. So there is a huge demand for using an unlimited non-exhaustible source of energy as a fuel. As solar energy is one of the available renewable energy, it can be used to increase the endurance of UAV without adding significant mass nor by increasing the size of the fuel system. By considering the basic challenges for a solar powered aircraft which are a geographical area of operation, energy collection and storage, payload and design parameters, a plane was designed & fabricated by incorporating the solar cells onto the wing. Here at first how much energy is available from the sun to power the entire plane was conceptually analyzed and then it was verified with experimental results. Finally, the energy and exergy efficiencies were calculated and analyzed, as exergy is an important tool in addressing the influence of utilizing the energy resources on the environment.


  • Solar cell;
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicle;
  • Renewable energy;
  • Exergy efficiency;
  • Global solar radiation;
  • Endurance

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