Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Effect of Load on Solar Panel Output

Figure from experiment 18 from Renewable Energy with Vernier


Given that there is a seemingly endless supply of energy available from the sun, solar, or photovoltaic (PV) cells, are becoming increasingly common. Photovoltaic cells, which are most often made out of silicon, a semiconductor, have the ability to convert light energy into electrical energy.

In this experiment, you will test a solar panel to determine how load (in this case, a resistor) affects its power output. You will create a potential-current curve, also known as an IV curve.


  • Use the Vernier Energy Sensor to determine current, voltage, and power.
  • Determine how power output varies depending on the resistance (load) in a circuit.
  • Determine the relationship between internal resistance and optimal resistance.
  • Create an IV curve for a solar panel.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Experiment 18 from Renewable Energy with Vernier Lab Book

<i>Renewable Energy with Vernier</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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