Solar cells produce different voltages and currents depending on the light levels and resistance in the circuit. How can you tell what the peak power of solar cell is? This is the method that researcher use to measure and compare the power from various solar cells. This is a good high school or introductory undergrad lab for physics or chemistry. It uses a simple technique with computer probeware to measure the current/voltage curve of a solar cell in order to determine its peak power. It allows you compare various types of cells and shows how difficult it is to get an accurate absolute measurement of performance.
- Cornell PV modules
- Estimating PV system size and cost
- live insolation data for Las Vegas
- PV Characterization with LabView from National Instruments
- PV simulation of changing light intensityhttp://www.pveducation.org/pvcdrom/solar-cell-operation/effect-of-light-intensity
- Solar Panel Worksheet
Sources for materials
- $3.95 Pitsco amorphous silicon cell with clips.
- 10K Ohm- 10 turn variable resistor
- Electronics Goldmine- A good source for solar cells.
- Pasco PASPort USB link $59
- voltage/current probe $99
- Vernier Lab Quest Mini (alternative to Pasco version) $149
- Energy sensor probe $69
Sources for Solar Cells
Single Crystal Silicon Solar Cell – http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/prodinfo.asp?number=G15302
Organic Photovoltaic OPV http://www.infinitypv.com/infinitypro/opv/demonstrator
CIS Solar panel –http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/prodinfo.asp?number=G16394A
Amorphous Silicon on glass panel http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/prodinfo.asp?number=G17851