Development of a Combined Irradiance Sensor Using Intelligent Silicon Cell Arrays


Principal investigator


This student project aims to create an innovative combined irradiance sensor capable of measuring direct, diffuse, and albedo solar irradiance. The sensor will be based on an array of silicon cells facing different directions, eliminating the need for a sun tracker through the implementation of an intelligent algorithm. The use of silicon solar cells provides a cost-effective alternative to traditional sensors while maintaining relevance to mainstream silicon photovoltaics due to the spectral response similarity.

This student project offers a unique opportunity to delve into the intersection of hardware development, software programming, and solar technology, providing valuable skills and insights for future endeavors in the renewable energy sector.

The project is suitable for min. 12-unit individual projects (such as ENGN8601, ENGN8602, ENGN4350, ENGN3712, ENGN4712, ENGN4718) or student group projects (such as ENGN8170, or ENGN4300).


  1. Design and develop a hardware prototype for the combined irradiance sensor using a platform such as Raspberry Pi or Arduino.
  2. Create software for the selected platform to extract readings from individual silicon cells and convert them to a common protocol, such as RS-485.
  3. Explore and integrate an algorithm capable of extracting direct, diffuse, and albedo irradiance values from the individual cell measurements.
  4. Achieve a cost-effective solution that is relevant to mainstream silicon photovoltaics.



  1. Proficiency in hardware design and prototyping.
  2. Programming skills for developing software on platforms like Raspberry Pi or Arduino.
  3. Understanding of solar irradiance measurements and sensor technologies.
  4. Familiarity with protocols such as RS-485.
  5. Ability to work independently and collaboratively.


Background Literature

Some exisiting literature can be provided upon request.


  1. Hands-on experience in hardware design and prototyping.
  2. Proficiency in programming for platforms like Raspberry Pi or Arduino.
  3. In-depth knowledge of solar irradiance measurement and sensor technologies.
  4. Gaining experience in Python programming language.
  5. Contribution to the development of a cost-effective combined irradiance sensor with practical applications in mainstream silicon photovoltaics.
  6. Opportunity to work with existing code developed by the supervisor and contribute to its enhancement.



  • Combined irradiance sensor
  • Silicon solar cells
  • Direct, diffuse, and albedo measurements
  • Intelligent algorithm
  • Cost-effective
  • Hardware prototype
  • Raspberry Pi
  • Arduino


Updated:  10 August 2021/Responsible Officer:  Dean, CECS/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing