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How solar cells are affected by their operating temperaturesFeatured science projectScience project video

Abstract

This experiment was done to find out how the efficiency of the solar cell will change at different temperature conditions.

Hypothesis

Solar cells will have a lower power output at higher temperatures.

Scientific Terms

Solar cell, photovoltaic effect, monocrystalline cells, polycrystalline cells, amorphous cells, ammeter, and voltmeter

Background

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.

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Complexity level:
6
Project cost ($):
120
Time required:
1 day to prepare, 1 hour for experiment
Material availability:
Solar cells may be purchased from a hobby store
Safety concerns:

Heat stroke, sunstroke, dehydration - be careful when working under the sun and have an adult supervise your experiment