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?

Renewable Energy with Vernier

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Renewable Energy: Why is it So Important?
2What is Energy?
3Project: Energy Audit
4Voltage and Circuits
5Current and Resistors
6Mechanical Power
7Generators
8Exploring Wind Turbines
9Effect of Load on Wind Turbine Output
10Blade Variables and Power Output
11Solidity
12Turbine Efficiency
13Power Curves
14Power and Energy
15Project: Maximum Energy Output
16Project: Build a Wind Farm
17Exploring Solar Panels
18Effect of Load on Solar Panel Output
19Variables Affecting Solar Panel Output
20Effect of Temperature on Solar Panel Output
21Project: Build a Solar Charger
22Exploring Passive Solar Heating
23Variables Affecting Passive Solar Heating
24Exploring Solar Collectors
25Variables Affecting Solar Collectors
26Project: Solar Cooker

Experiment 19 from Renewable Energy with Vernier Lab Book

<i>Renewable Energy with Vernier</i> book cover

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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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