Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Solar Panel Output: Effect of Shade

Figure from experiment 6 from Solar Energy Explorations

Introduction

Some days it is very sunny all day—there are no clouds in the sky, and it is very bright. In these conditions, lots of sunlight reaches the solar panels.

Other days it is cloudy. The sky might be completely covered in clouds or clouds may pass in front of the sun on and off during the day. Less sunlight reaches the solar panels on cloudy days.

Other things that could shade solar panels would be large trees next to houses or buildings. Do you think shade caused by trees or clouds will affect the power output of solar panels? In this experiment, you will use the Energy Sensor to help you answer this question.

Objectives

  • Measure the power output of three solar panels with Go Direct Energy.
  • Use data-collection software to calculate mean (average) values.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

Graphical Analysis 4

Next Generation Science Standards

Science and Engineering Practices

  • Developing and using models
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Using mathematics and computational thinking

Disciplinary Core Ideas

  • PS3.B: Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer

Crosscutting Concepts

  • Cause and effect
  • Scale, proportion, and quantity
  • Systems and system models
  • Energy and matter

Solar Energy Explorations

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Renewable Energy
2Introduction to Solar Panels and Solar Energy
3Measuring Energy
4Making Connections: Circuits
5Solar Panel Output: Effect of Load
6Solar Panel Output: Effect of Shade
7Solar Panel Output: Effect of Angle
8Solar Panel Output: Effect of Temperature
9Project: Build a Solar Car

Experiment 6 from Solar Energy Explorations Lab Book

<i>Solar Energy Explorations</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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