Diego Aponte, Albert Espinoza, Luis Benitez, Luis Feliciano, Abdiel Delgado, Brayan Carmona, Steven Sanchez, Ricardo Serrano and Kevin Torres
Wind energy is one of the most important and fastest-growing renewable sources worldwide. As wind turbine technology becomes more abundant, so does the need for adequate tools for wind farm site selection. Currently, available wind energy data is obtained from a limited number of costly and sparsely distributed metrological stations that provide data at hourly, daily, or even weekly intervals. This lack of localized data can be improved by using a network of low-cost, portable weather stations that can be easily deployed at one or several proposed wind farm sites to provide better metrological data granularity directly from each site. This work focuses on the implementation of a low-cost, solar-powered weather station capable of gathering meteorological data including air temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed, wind direction, and rainfall. The weather station was developed using off-the-shelf microcontrollers and sensors. The system power consumption was measured to determine the energy requirements from the solar panels and the capacity of the backup battery. The sensors and weather station main control unit were mounted on an adjustable tripod base with a telescoping arm which was designed to raise the weather station up to 10 ft and to provide structural support capable of withstanding winds of up to 60 mph. Data gathered from the weather station was compared to a professional-grade Onset HOBO weather station located at the same site. Results show that the low-cost weather station is a feasible option to use for site assessment or weather forecast purposes at a comfortable cost.