Project Director

Elliott, Trevor

Department Examiner

Margraves, Charles; McDonald, Gary; Wigal, Cecelia


Dept. of Mechanical Engineering


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


The objective of this paper is to study the viability of building a Baja SAE competition site so that UTC could host events in the future. Part of this includes defining a building size in square feet and estimating the construction cost. Once that is accomplished it is necessary to determine what equipment may be used at the site, how much power each piece of equipment would use, and how many hours each would be used for within the year. With this information it is then possible to estimate the annual power consumption for a competition year and a regular year. These results are 106,630.02 kWh and 54,501.35 kWh respectively. After determining the cost of excess demand, the power costs for those years was found to be $23,685.21 and $14,831.58 respectively. After finding the amount of the power cost, the amount of power needing to be generated can then be determined. By consulting weather studies and looking at the amount of money needing to be recouped, it is determined that the appropriate program is TVA’s Distributed Solar Solutions program. TVA requires that they buy 100% of the power produced in any system contracted with them. Knowing this, then the only way to measure how well the system meets the power needs of the facility is a dollar to dollar comparison. The solar panels selected for the analysis are 190 Watt panels. The inverter selected for the analysis has an efficiency of 98.5%. Utilizing this information and the program guidelines for power buy-back, calculations yield that a generation system with a nameplate capacity of 1 Megawatt would be the ideal size. For the selected apparatus, this constitutes 5,500 panels and would cost $1.5 million; however, the system would not generate any money in addition to covering costs over the 20 year contract.


A special thanks to Dr. Trevor Elliott for being my DHON Director. He constantly pointed me in the correct direction and was always available to ask questions, even as he says in “the eleventh hour.” Thanks also to the College of Engineering and Computer Science for allowing me to do a Departmental Honors thesis and providing me with the knowledge necessary to complete said thesis. Thanks to the Honors College for starting me on this path early in my college career so that I could see it through to completion now. Thanks to all of my committee members not only as examiners but also as instructors that all had a place teaching me something valuable that was useful in completing my thesis. In particular, Dr. Margraves and Dr. McDonald for teaching me how to define a problem, design a model, and write a rigorous report. Thanks to Dr. Wigal for teaching me about facility design so that I would be able to first design the building to a preliminary point such that an analysis could be completed. I also would like to say thanks to the UTC SAE Baja teams from 2016, 2017, and 2018 for always providing suggestions and giving feedback that was related to what other competition sites lacked and to what should be incorporated into this design to provide students a better experience. As I have never been to a SAE sanctioned competition, their experience and opinions were invaluable. I also want to give special thanks to my family and friends for keeping me grounded and together while I completed this thesis throughout the last year. They were always supportive of me and my goals and I truly appreciate that.


B. S.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Science.




All terrain vehicle racing; Automobiles, Racing


BAJA; SAE; Solar; Green power; Viability analysis; Power engineering


Mechanical Engineering

Document Type



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