# All Science Fair Projects

## Solar concentrators and how they affect the performance of solar cells

### Materials

The materials required for this experiment:

• 1 polycrystalline solar cell 0.5V 2.0A, 1Watt
• 1 mirror
• 1 parabolic dish
• 1 roll of aluminum foil
• 1 roll of masking tape
• 1 digital voltmeter
• 1 ammeter
• 1 resistor 0.25ohm 4 watt
• An assistant to help hold the mirror and parabolic reflector

### Procedure

1. For this experiment, the independent variable is the type of solar reflector used. The dependent variable is the power output from the solar cell. This is determined by measuring the voltage and current produced. The constants (control variables) are the resistor, amount of sunlight, the temperature and the type of solar panel used.
2. The parabolic dish is covered with the aluminum foil to give the surface a reflective finish. Be sure to use the more reflective surface of the foil. The aluminum foil is fastened to the parabolic dish using the masking tape.
3. This experiment is conducted outdoors under bright sunlight with minimum cloud coverage.
1. The solar cell is first set up without any solar reflector as shown in figure 1. The voltmeter (V) and ammeter (A) are connected as shown in figure 2. The voltage and ampere readings are taken and recorded.
2. Next, the mirror reflector is used and the layout is arranged as shown in figure 1. Adjust and hold the mirror so that the light is reflected onto the solar cell. The voltage and ampere readings are taken and recorded in the table below.
3. Finally the parabolic reflector is used and the layout is arranged as shown in figure 1. Adjust and hold the parabolic reflector so that the light is reflected on the solar cell. The voltage and ampere readings are taken once more and recorded in the table below.
4. The output power of the solar cell is calculated as follows:
Power (watt) oltage (volt) x Current (ampere)
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Complexity level:
5
Project cost (\$):
50
Time required:
1 hour to prepare, 1 hour for experiment
Material availability:
Purchase solar cells from hobby engineering stores or from school science laboratory suppliers
Safety concerns:

Long hours of exposure to the sun may cause dizziness, dehydration or heat stroke. Make sure you drink an adequate amount of water and put on sunscreen. You should ensure that you protect yourself with an umbrella or wear a hat as you will be under the sun for a fair amount of time.