Project cost ($):
1 day to prepare, 1 hour for experiment
Solar cells may be purchased from a hobby store
Heat stroke, sunstroke, dehydration - be careful when working under the sun and have an adult supervise your experiment
Table of Contents
This experiment was done to find out how the efficiency of the solar cell will change at different temperature conditions.
Solar cells will have a lower power output at higher temperatures.
Solar cells convert sunlight into energy due to the photovoltaic effect. These cells are made from photovoltaic semiconductor materials. These semiconductor materials behave as insulators under normal conditions but become conductors of electricity when exposed to light.
The common types of solar cells are:
Monocrystalline solar cells which have high power output efficiency but are difficult to produce and expensive.
Polycrystalline solar cells which have a lower production cost and are therefore less expensive but they are less efficient due to inherent crystalline defects.
Amorphous solar cells ?which have lower production costs than the other 2 types mentioned above. However the power output efficiency is also the lowest amongst these three types of cells.
Solar energy is a clean and environment friendly way of generating power. The generation of solar power does not cause any pollution to the atmosphere. It also does not result in deforestation nor does it drain the earth of its natural resources.
Solar cell, photovoltaic effect, monocrystalline cells, polycrystalline cells, amorphous cells, ammeter, and voltmeter
The materials required for this experiment:
The results show that the solar cell with the lowest temperature (fan cooled) had the highest output power.
The hypothesis that the power output of solar cell will be lower at higher temperatures is proven to be true.
Solar cells lose their efficiency at higher temperatures. Therefore sufficient gaps for air ventilation are necessary to keep the operating temperatures of these cells within acceptable limits. Water and fans can be used to cool the solar cells.
The experiment can be repeated by using water to cool the solar cell.
Try to repeat the experiment using amorphous solar cells. What if the cells are cooled below freezing temperatures? How would your results differ?