Performance of Photovoltaic Cells in an Undersea Environment
Final rept. Mar-Oct 1978
NAVAL OCEAN SYSTEMS CENTER SAN DIEGO CA
Pagination or Media Count:
Photovoltaic solar cells can serve as a reliable source of electric power for electronic instrumentation in temporarily or permanently submerged marine systems in the form of bottom installations, buoys, or remotely controlled unmanned vehicles. The power output of submerged solar cells is a function of solar insolation intensity on the water surface, depth of submersion, optical properties of water, temperature, and the orientation of the cell surface with respect to the sun. Experimental data were generated by submerging solar cell panels in different bodies of water with a 2.5- to 95-ft visual contrast limit, as defined by the observation of a submerged, standard, 12-in Secchi disc, and measuring their performance under load. The power output of horizontally oriented, upward-facing, photovoltaic cells submerged to the visual contrast limit depth was found to be a constant, equal to approximately 5 to 10 percent of the power generated by upward-facing, horizontally oriented cells in an atmospheric environment. The power output of the cells increased at lesser depths, until in the splash zone the output was essentially the same or higher than in the atmospheric environment. Based on these findings it can be concluded that high-efficiency silicon solar cells can serve as a practical electrical power supply in electronic devices for marine applications, if their depth of submersion in less than the visual contrast limit at the dive location.
- Electric Power Production and Distribution
- Marine Engineering