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How different angles of incidence of solar rays impact the performance of a solar cell.Featured science projectScience project video



The materials required for this experiment:

  • 7 polycrystalline solar cells 0.5V 2.0A, 1Watt
  • 7 wooden cubes (their lengths should be the same as the solar cells)
  • 1 saw
  • A protractor
  • 1 roll of double-sided tape
  • 1 digital voltmeter
  • 1 ammeter
  • 1 resistor (0.25 ohm 4 watt)



1. For this experiment, the independent variable is the angle of the solar cell. 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 wooden blocks are cut with a saw in the workshop as shown in figure 1. The angles given below the drawings are measured using a protractor between the vertical line and the surface onto which the solar cell will be mounted.

3. This experiment is conducted outdoors at noon (1200 hours) when the sun is directly overhead on a clear day.

4. The solar cells are mounted onto the wooden blocks using double sided tape 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 in the table below.

5. The procedure 4 described above is done on all 7 solar cells mounted at different angles. The voltage and ampere readings are taken and recorded in the table below.
The output power of the solar cell is calculated as follows:

Power (watt) oltage (Volt) x Current (ampere)

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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
1 day to prepare, 1 hour for experiment
Material availability:
Safety concerns:

Exercise caution when sawing wooden blocks. 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.