Solar cell test
You can print the teacher guide without teacher hints or with teacher hints.
How to test and use one or more solar cells?
What you need
- One polymer solar cell (two for the last part of the experiment)
- Light bulbs with different power ratings (1 - 6W)
- Lightsource (floodlight lamp or the sun)
The sun's light contains energy that can be converted into electricity in a solar cell. In these experiments we will look at how we can use the energy from the solar cell and how we can utilize more solar cells.
Place the solar cell under the sun or a lamp. Measure the current with the ampmeter. Then remove the solar cell from the sun or turn off the lamp and measure the power again.
What is the difference between the two measurements?
When the light is on, you will measure the largest current. The current you have now measured is called the short circuit current of the solar cell. It is the maximum current that the solar cell can produce. Note the short circuit current.
Now measure the voltage of the solar cell under illumination using a voltmeter. This is the voltage of the unloaded circuit and is the maximum voltage that the solar cell can achieve. Note this voltage. When the solar cell is used to run an electrical circuit, charge a battery, or similar it will be under resistive load. Therefore, you will see that the current and voltage are lower than the two numbers we have just measured.
Now try to connect one of the incandescent bulbs to the solar cell. First measure the current with the ampmeter through the incandescent bulb. Then measure the voltage. Compare these numbers with the short-circuit current and the open circuit voltage from the unloaded circuit from task 1.
The current and voltage you are measuring now corresponds to a produced power. In experiment 1, the produced power was 0 in both cases. Now try to calculate the power with the incandescent bulb (Power = Voltage x Power) and note the power as well as current and voltage.
Repeat the attempt for all the different bulbs you have available and note the effect the solar cell delivers for each.
Does the solar cell give the same powerfor each incandescent bulb?
Try connecting the two solar cells in parallel and repeat the experiment with the incandescent bulbs. Then do the same with two solar cells in series.
Is it the same incandescent bulb that gives the best effect when the cells are connected in series and in parallel?
How do we best utilize the energy that the solar cell produces?
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