Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Variables Affecting Solar Collectors

Figure from experiment 25 from Renewable Energy with Vernier


Sunlight is composed of photons or bundles of radiant energy. In photovoltaic panels, that energy is converted into electricity. In a solar water heating system, sunlight is converted into heat in the solar collector. When photons strike a solar collector, they may be reflected or absorbed. The more photons absorbed, the more efficient the solar collector can be. The ability of a solar collector to absorb photons is affected by many factors, including its color.

The KidWind Solar Thermal Exploration Kit allows you to test how different variables affect a solar collector. For this experiment, you will pick one variable and test it.


  • Use a Surface Temperature Sensor to measure the change in temperature of the water in a solar collector.
  • Create a plan to test a variable that affects solar collectors.
  • Collect data and draw conclusions based on results.

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 25 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.

Buy the Book

Go to top