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# A comparison of the efficiencies of solar cells and solar panels

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Leonore Cilliers - 0810                Leighton Park School - 51325

Physics Plan

Solar cells:

Below are diagrams to show how the solar cell will be set up to measure the power output.

The photovoltaic cell circuit will be set up as follows:

The experiment must be completed in complete darkness with the only incident light coming from the 150W light bulb, and the light bulb must be kept at a fixed height above the photovoltaic cell, to ensure a fair test. I will cover the experiment with a cardboard box to ensure that the only incident light comes from the 150W bulb connected to the 230V mains.

Procedure:

Once the above equipment and circuit has been set up, the voltage and current of the circuit can be measured. Vary the resistance of the resistor and record the voltage and current at each resistance.

Middle

0.809

2600

378

854

0.000378

0.854

2650

364

956

0.000364

0.956

2750

360

995

0.000360

0.995

2780

346

1114

0.000346

1.114

2890

340

1161

0.000340

1.161

2940

Calculating the power output of the photovoltaic cell:

Power (W) = Current (A) x Voltage (V)

To measure the power output, plot a graph of voltage against 1/current and measure the gradient of the best fit line.

I used my preliminary results to draw a graph and to measure the power output.

Equation of graph:

y = 0.001x - 1.7657

Gradient  =  Power Output         =  0.001W

Calculating the power input of the photovoltaic cell:

To measure the power input, measure the irradiance (in Watts/m2) of the bulb with an irradiance meter. This measurement must be taken at the same fixed distance away from the bulb as the solar cell.

Then measure the dimensions of the solar cell in order to calculate the area of the solar cell.

The power input of the solar cell can then be calculated as follows:

Power (W) = Irradiance (Wm-2) x Area (m2)

Conclusion

Factors to be taken into account when comparing the two methods:

The input energy has to be identical if the experiments are being compared. Therefore, the bulb must be placed at the same fixed height above both experiments. The experiments must be conducted in complete darkness so that the only incident light during both experiments comes from the 150W bulb.

In the solar cell experiment not all incident light energy will be converted to electrical energy as some light may be reflected off the surface of the solar cell. In the solar panel experiment, some thermal energy from the water may be lost by conduction and radiation to the surroundings.

Bibliography:

Wikipedia - Solar Cell

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_cell

Intensity

http://www.glenbrook.k12.il.us/GBSSCI/PHYS/CLASS/sound/u11l2b.html

http://www.fiberoptix.com/technical/measuring-intensity.html

http://www.solaqua.com/daysolmet.html

of

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