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1.0 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
A solar cell is an electronic device that converts the sunlight energy directly into electric energy without any form of moving parts by using photovoltaic effect. A Solar cell is also called Photovoltaic (PV) Cell. It is a static device, no moving part. “Photo” means Light and “voltaic” means producing electricity. It is a solid state electronic device made of semiconductor materials like silicon. Solar cell converts energy of light directly into Direct Current (DC). Solar cell does not use heat of light to produce electrical energy. In 1839 the photovoltaic effect was discovered, in 1883 the first thin film solar cells were fabricated and the first practical photovoltaic cell was developed in 1954 (Abraham, 2012). Efficiency of solar cell depends on many factors like shading on cells, irradiance, temperature etc. In 2014 the highest efficiency of 44.7% was achieved by using the multiple junction cells (Chaohui,2008)
Fruits and vegetables are vital agricultural products for human consumption worldwide. They are of herbaceous plants, with soft stem and with a high degree of moisture content.Vegetables enhance the nutritional quality of diet because of their richness in vitamins and minerals such as carotene (Pro-vitamin A), ascorbic acid, riboflavin, iron, iodine, calcium, etc.(Ihekoronye and Ngoddy1985).Deficiency of these nutrients can lead to widespread of diseases and on the long run, lead to death. Vegetables are also rich in fibers which are essential for good digestion.There is proper need to address the production, preservation and storage of vegetables to reduce the death rate caused by the lack of the needed nutrients. Vegetables should be consumed in the fresh state because they are usually perishable (Olosunde,2006).
Evaporative cooling has enormous applications, ranging fromthe storage of food and agricultural materials, comfort cooling in residential, commercialand institutional buildings to industrial applications such as spot cooling in power plants, foundries etc. (Ashrae,2003).This principle is also majorly used in the greenhouses.
1.1 AIM AND OBJECTIVES
The aim of this project is to design and install a solar power system for an Evaporative cooling system. The objectives are:
1.To be able to harness the abundant and free solar energy during the day time and convert it to electrical energy that will be used to power some components of an Evaporative cooling system (a DC fan, temperature display monitor, and a LED lamp).
2.Tobe able to store the electrical energy in a batteryfor use in the absence of solar energy.
1.3 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Nigerian Government today, has taken agriculture seriously by providing incentives for local farmers such as fertilizers, and improved seedlings. But in this light, the challenge of crop storage after harvest has made local farmers run at a loss because of inadequate electric power supply to power evaporative cooling systems that are used to store vegetables and fruits.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF PROJECT
This project was embarked upon to design and install a solar system for an Evaporative cooling system (E.C.S)in order to solve the problem of inadequate electric power supply to power evaporative cooling system. This project will go as far as helping farmers to store harvestedvegetables and fruits and to help them to maximize profit since most of agricultural products are perishable.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE PROJECT
This project is limited to the design and installation of anoff- grid solar system with battery backup within the Department of Agricultural & Bio-Environmental Engineering. The power generated ( in watts) will be used to power some components of an evaporative cooling system (ECS), which will include a DC fan, temperature display monitor, and a LED lamp which are rated at maximum thirty (30) watts.
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