Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Alta Devices is introducing the “Solar for UAV Index,” a measurement system designed to assess solar technologies for fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
According to the company, the new index accounts for many of the issues that a designer must consider: power to weight, properties of the solar cell plus encapsulate, and power to surface area.
Alta Devices says this type of index is needed because the traditional measurement for solar technologies based on conversion efficiency alone is insufficient for applications where weight and flexibility are equally critical.
Instead, the newly proposed index creates a rating system based on a more representative complement of variables that must be considered in choosing a solar technology for UAV applications such as agriculture, surveillance, inspection or communications.
The company has also issued a whitepaper, “Selecting Solar Technology for Fixed Wing UAVs,” which can be found here.