Renewable sources of energy are considered as viable alternatives to cope with environmental issues related to non-renewable energies and the energy crisis of the current century. However, there are certain challenges in the production and consumption of renewable sources of energy. In this thesis, we study the problem of monitoring power production in photovoltaic (PV) solar energy systems and energy-efficient lighting control through wireless embedded microcontroller systems. In particular, two applications in energy production and conservation are studied. First, a ZigBee-enabled solar PV power performance monitoring system at the module level is developed that enables the user to reduce operation and maintenance costs through real-time monitoring of power production. Due to the relatively high cost of solar energy production, Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting is a natural choice to reduce energy consumption for lighting. Thus, an energy-efficient LED testbed is developed using the Bluetooth low energy (BLE) wireless technology. To this end, two lab prototypes are developed and implemented for both applications, and their performance is tested through experiments. Furthermore, a graphical user interface (GUI), is developed that can be utilized for monitoring and supervisory control purposes related to the testbeds developed in this work.
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Thesis advisor: Moallem, Mehrdad
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