Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2021.


Electrical and Computer Engineering; Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Maryam Khanbaghi

Second Advisor

Tony Restivo


The mobile nanogrid is a standalone mobile power solution which uses a combination of automatic and manual tracking mechanisms to maintain a solar panel's perpendicularity to the sun over the course of the day in order to maximize energy generation. The power can then be consumed by a user or stored. It is designed to be placed on the roof of a vehicle for the recreational camping market to meet the need for mobile power generation. A scaled-down functional prototype was designed in SolidWorks, modeled in MATLAB Simulink, fabricated in the machine shop using a combination of off-the-shelf and custom parts, and programmed to have optimal performance. The prototype's tracking functionality was tested against the simpler option of keeping the panel flat, demonstrating improved daily energy generation of 3 7%, which aligned with the predicted results. Given an average customer's mobile power usage and a battery sized to provide the nighttime component, this boost in generation is translated to a 3.Sx extension in the amount of time that the customer's usage can be supplied. This prototype demonstrates the feasibility of a mobile solar tracking system.