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

Conclusion

The hypothesis is proven to be correct. The power output generated by solar cells will be at its highest when the solar cells are positioned perpendicular to the direction of sunlight.

The use of a solar tracker will help the solar panel follow the path of the sun and this allows the solar panel to remain perpendicular to the angle of incidence of the sun's rays, for maximum efficiency and power output. 

Also consider

Try to repeat the experiment using amorphous solar cells.

Try to simulate real life as much as possible. Introduce elements such as wind, water (rain) and ice to the test environment. How do the results differ? Will your results differ on a cloudy day?

References

  • Solar mirror - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_mirror
  • How do solar panels work - http://www.glrea.org/articles/howDoSolarPanelsWork.html
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Complexity level:
5
Project cost ($):
60
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.