Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology
Tech Info Library

Why is my 2 volt solar panel putting out more than 3 volts?

In early 2014, some KidWind kits included a 3V/200mA solar panel instead of a 2V/400mA panel. You can differentiate between the 2V/400mA and 3V/200mA solar panels by the arrangement of cells on the panel. The cells on a 2V/400mA panel are arranged 4 by 2. The cells on a 3V/200mA panel are arranged 6 by 2.

If you received a 3V/200mA solar panel, you might have collected data from that panel that did not match the experiment you were performing. For instance, if you were to perform Experiment 18 in Renewable Energy with Vernier, order code REV, $48, "Effect of Load on Solar Panel Output," you would have measured an open circuit voltage of ~3.5 V and a short circuit current of ~200 mA. As well, it would have been difficult to reach low voltage values (less than 0.75 V) while measuring the effect of resistance on solar panel voltage, current, and power output. While the current vs. voltage curve you would have created would have the same shape as the graph shown in the Instructor Information, it would have different vertical and horizontal intercepts.

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