Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Variables Affecting Solar Panel Output

Figure from experiment 19 from Renewable Energy with Vernier

Introduction

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.

Objectives

  • 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.

Additional Requirements

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

Experiment 19 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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