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ECE.07R – Solar Panel Community Fridge

Team Members Heading link

  • Andres Dimas Jr
  • Joe Hackl
  • Isaac Her
  • Mark Istoc
  • Oscar Montelongo

Project Description Heading link

Little Village is a neighborhood in Chicago with many low income Hispanic residents who may have trouble accessing food. The Amor de Dios Church in Little Village has food drives where people in the community can donate and receive food. However, there are times people cannot attend the food drives to receive or donate food. Our project’s goal is to design a hybrid solar powered fridge that people can access at any time. In this way, people can still donate or receive the food they need. The fridge should maintain refrigeration temperatures (38F +/- 2F ) to keep food fresh. The fridge will be placed outside the church behind a closed gate and will be powered by a battery that is charged using solar panels. The goal of the hybrid solar power system is to power the fridge primarily using solar energy and switch to the electrical grid only when needed. A shelter is planned to be built to protect the fridge from weather elements, and prevent theft after service hours. All electrical components must also be stored and protected from weather and theft. The finished system will be grounded for the solar fridge to be safely used by the community. The fridge also needs to switch efficiently between power from the electrical grid and power from our solar powered system. We unit tested our solar panels, Automatic Transfer Switch(ATS), and inverter. We simulated the subsystems using MatLab and Simulink to determine the battery discharge rate. To maintain refrigeration temperatures, 50-100 watts in an hour are consumed at room temperature, so we can expect the battery to power the fridge for a minimum of 8 hours with a battery capacity of 800 watt-hours.