Energy produced by the sun is called solar energy. It is produced during nuclear reactions that take place throughout the volume of the sun. The energy travels to Earth in the form of light. Photovoltaic (PV) cells change the light energy to electrical energy that can be used to power cell phones, cars, or even satellites.
A photovoltaic cell is usually made of a semiconducting material such as silicon. When light strikes the cell, it provides enough energy to move electrons through the cell producing an electric current. A single photovoltaic cell is approximately the size of a fingernail and puts out a very small current when struck by the light. Objects requiring higher currents to operate can be powered by wiring large numbers of photovoltaic cells together.
In this experiment, you will experiment with a small solar panel to explore factors that affect the performance of the panel.
Use a Vernier Energy Sensor to measure current and voltage output.
Explore variables that affect solar panel power output.
Sensors and Equipment
This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.