A parallel process to boost solar power

The usual method of connecting solar panels is in a series, one after the other. But just as one bad bulb in a string of Christmas lights can black out the entire set, so can a single solar panel disrupt the flow of electrical current through the other panels in a series.


“If one of the panels is shaded, dirty or damaged, it affects them all,” says Jonathan Kimball, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. “The conventional approach to solar arrays inherently limits the amount of power they produce if there’s any variation in the panels.”

Thumbnail image for Kimball_solarpower.jpg

Jonathan Kimball, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Missouri S&T, is working to improve the efficiency of solar arrays by connecting solar panels in parallel, rather than in a series.

Rather than connecting solar panels in a series — where the electrical current must flow from one panel to get to the next — Kimball suggests parallel wiring for the panels. The parallel approach would connect each panel to its own power converter instead of sending the electrical current through a series of panels to a single converter.
Kimball is working on two different projects in this area. Through one project, funded by the U.S. Army’s Leonard Wood Institute, based in nearby Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., he is developing a system that could be used for a forward operating base. The other project, funded by the National Science Foundation, is focused on developing a system that could be used for residential power.

Around the Puck

Generous partners complete ACML fundraising

Thanks to an investment from the University of Missouri System, major gifts from industry partners and alumni support, S&T will break ground on the Advanced Construction and Materials Laboratory (ACML) on Oct. 12, during Homecoming weekend.

[Read More...]

Alumni help with sesquicentennial planning

Seven alumni, including three Miner Alumni Association board members, have been named to Missouri S&T’s sesquicentennial advisory committee. The group is made up of graduates, students, faculty, staff and community members who are involved in planning the university’s upcoming 150th anniversary celebration.

[Read More...]

Using big data to reduce childbirth risks

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, complications during pregnancy or childbirth affect more than 50,000 women annually, and about 700 of them die every year. Steve Corns, associate professor of engineering management and systems engineering, is working with researchers from Phelps County Regional Medical Center through the Ozarks Biomedical Initiative to reduce […]

[Read More...]

Bogan solves Benton mural mystery

Missouri State Capitol muralist Thomas Hart Benton wrote in his memoir about being called into then-Gov. Guy Park’s office and told that a prominent St. Louis politician objected to Benton’s portrayal of black people, especially depictions of slavery.

[Read More...]

Breaking bias

According to Jessica Cundiff, assistant professor of psychological science at S&T, women who consider careers in the physical sciences, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields are deterred by stereotypes that impose barriers on the recruitment, retention and advancement of women in STEM.

[Read More...]