Shadows and solar cells

In this experiment, we investigate what influence shadows has on the performance of solar cells. We will also seek solutions to these problems?

You can print the teacher guide without teacher hints or with teacher hints.

What influences does shadows have on solar cells and how can you circumvent these problems?

Figure 1. Forsøgs opstillng.

What you need

Background

A solar cell mounted outdoor is exposed to many things, including changing light conditions with shadows over some of the cells. In addition, the solar cells can be covered by leaves or brid droppings, which also leave some of the cells in shadow. These shadows naturally lead to a decrease in productivity as less light hits the cells. But it's not the only thing that happens when some cells are left in shadow. In this experiment we will look at the consequences as well as a possible solution.

Experiment 1

Figure 2. Experimental setup.

Connect the two solar cells in series and measure the current with an ammeter as shown. Turn on the lighting. Record the power. Now try to shade for one of the solar cells. What happens to the power?

The experiment can be completed using the following virtual instrument. Click on the solar cell to turn on or turn off the lighting. The reading can be changed from voltage to current by clicking on the multimeter.
Solar cells connected in series
Note that the power disappears when one solar cell is shaded. The following video from the Coursera course "Introduction to Solar Cells" explains this phenomenon:

Experiment 2

Figur 3. Experimental setup with bypass diodes.

Make the setup as shown in Figure 3. Unlike experiment 1, two diodes are now connected to the system. Try again to measure the power without shadow and then with a solar cell in shade. What is the difference compared to before?

The experiment can be completed using the following virtual instrument. Click on the solar cell to turn on or turn off the lighting. The reading can be changed from voltage to current by clicking on the multimeter. The bypass diodes can be connected or disconnected by clicking on them.
Solar cells in series with bypass diodes

Concluding questions

What influence do the diodes have on the circuit and how does the current flow in the circuit?

Related shop items

110 mm wide bidirectional Solar tape (> 4%)
Solar Tape is a flexible organic solar cell foil with optional lined adhesive that functions as a solar sticker.


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