Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) play an increasingly important role in monitoring applications in many areas. With the emergence of the Internet-of-Things (IoT), many more lowpower sensors will need to be deployed in various environments to collect and monitor data about environmental factors in real time. Providing power supply to these sensor nodes becomes a critical challenge for realizations of IoT applications as sensor nodes are normally battery-powered and have a limited lifetime. This paper proposes a wireless sensor network that is powered by solar energy harvesting. The sensor network monitors the environmental data with low-power sensor electronics and forms a network using multiple XBee wireless modules. A detailed performance analysis of the network system under solar energy harvesting has been presented. The sensor network system and the proposed energy-harvesting techniques are configured to achieve a continuous energy source for the sensor network. The proposed energy-harvesting system has been successfully designed to enable an energy solution in order to keep sensor nodes active and reliable for a whole day. The paper also outlines some of our experiences in real-time implementation of a sensor network system with energy harvesting.
Keywords: WSN; XBee; energy harvesting; environmental monitoring; performance; supercapacitor.