University of Twente Student Theses


Designing a Low-Cost Autonomous Pyranometer

Burgt, A.P. van der (2020) Designing a Low-Cost Autonomous Pyranometer.

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Abstract:To understand the Urban Heat Island effect and see the impact of the different urban areas around Enschede, a network of low-cost autonomous weather stations is under development. To further develop this network, a low-cost autonomous pyranometer had to be made, to get further insight on how to accurately measure solar irradiance with low-cost sensors. These questions led to this research with the main research question “How to Develop a Low-Cost Autonomous Pyranometer?”. A low-cost autonomous pyranometer was made by designing a low-cost pyranometer that is made autonomous by interfacing it with a low-cost autonomous weather station. The sensor used off-the-shelf modules, a microcontroller and a Digital to Analog Converter to generate a voltage to be read by the low-cost autonomous weather station. The conversion of the output of the light sensors to a voltage that is outputted is done with the help of a calibration function made by a Multiple Linear Regression model. The overall sensor went through four different iterations to get to the end prototype. The low-cost pyranometer was evaluated with the help of a reference pyranometer, the Davis Instruments Solar Radiation Sensor. The testing setup measured both outputs simultaneously while these pyranometers were outside in the sun. The low-cost pyranometer fulfilled the main requirements, which included accuracy and costs. A good first step was made in making a low-cost autonomous pyranometer. It was shown that a low-cost pyranometer can be made with low-cost components and the help of machine learning techniques such as Multiple Linear Regression. The exact accuracy was difficult to determine however, due to the inaccuracy of the reference pyranometer. For further iterations of this low-cost pyranometer, the main points to be tackled are the integration of the sensor with the low-cost autonomous weather station and the usage of a high-end, more accurate reference pyranometer, which will lead to an increased and more certain accuracy.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Municipality of Enschede, Enschede, Netherlands
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Subject:38 earth sciences, 43 environmental science
Programme:Creative Technology BSc (50447)
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