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An Experiment to investigate the factors that affect the Power Output of a solar (photovoltaic) cell.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

An Experiment to investigate the factors that affect the Power Output of a solar (photovoltaic) cell Aim There are many factors that influence the power output of the solar cell. The aim of this investigation is to understand and determine how two different variables will affect the solar cells overall power output. The data that will be collected should show the relationship the two factors have in comparison to the power output of the solar cell. Solar cells are essentially controlled by light, and so the aim is to see what effect light has on the power output of the solar cell as its distance from the light increases (i.e. as it gets less light). By using the results and producing graphs it will be possible to make conclusions as to what the main influencing factors are on the overall power output of the solar cell. By the end of this investigation, this should produce a clear understanding as to what effect those factors have on the power output. Method There are many different factors that affect the power output of solar cells. The aim of this experiment is to discover these factors. There will be two variables being investigated in this experiment. These are: 1. The effect on the power output of a solar cell as its distance from the light bulb increases. 2. The effect on the power output of a solar cell with a red, yellow and green filter covering it, as its distance from the light bulb increases. In the first experiment, investigating the power output of the solar cell as its distance increases from the light will show whether or not more light (when the solar cell is closest to the light) produces a higher power output in the solar cell. In the second experiment, investigating the power output of the solar cell with coloured filters in front of them will show if different coloured filters in front of the solar cell will have a significant effect on ...read more.

Middle

10.6 1102.4 32 91 9.3 846.3 34 85 8.5 722.5 36 76 7.9 600.4 38 71 7.2 511.2 40 67 6.8 455.6 42 61 6 366 44 57 5.7 324.9 46 52 5.2 270.4 48 49 4.9 240.1 50 46 4.7 216.2 52 40 4 160 54 38 3.8 144.4 56 37 3.7 136.9 58 35 3.5 122.5 60 33 3.3 108.9 62 31 3.1 96.1 64 30 3.2 96 66 28 2.8 78.4 68 28 2.8 78.4 70 26 2.6 67.6 72 25 2.5 62.5 74 24 2.4 57.6 76 23 2.4 55.2 78 21 2.1 44.1 80 21 2.1 44.1 82 20 2 40 84 19 1.9 36.1 86 19 1.9 36.1 88 18 1.8 32.4 90 17 1.7 28.9 92 16 1.6 25.6 94 16 1.6 25.6 96 15 1.5 22.5 98 15 1.5 22.5 100 15 1.5 22.5 When the light was at 0cm away from the light bulb, the power output was the highest, at 17,682 milliwatts. When the light was 30cm away, the power output was 1,102.4 milliwatts. When the light was 90cm away, the power output was 28.9 milliwatts. This graph therefore shows that as the distance of the light increases, the total power output of the solar cell decreases. As described in the introduction, this is because the light rays have to spread over a much wider area if the light is far from the solar cell, so some of the light rays may be lost to the surroundings and only part of it reaches the solar cell. Therefore, only a few of the initial light rays given out by the light can be converted into electrical energy. This graph depicts that the distance of the light and the power output of the solar cell are not proportional, as there is not a straight line, it is a curve. So this graph effectively shows that my predictions were correct in saying that as the distance of the light bulb increases, the power output of the solar cell decreases. ...read more.

Conclusion

My tie often came in between the light and the solar cell, and people were walking around frequently in the room, so that may have had a significant effect on the light rays reaching the solar cell, and therefore on the overall power output of the solar cell. Time was limited in doing this experiment, so therefore it had to be carried out at a fairly rapid pace. The current and voltage displayed on the ammeter and voltmeter often changed after a while. Another way to improve this experiment would therefore be to keep the solar cell at each distance from the bulb for a few minutes, while the readings on the voltmeter and ammeter settle down. This would provide more accurate results. In this investigation, I began my measurements from 0cm and moved on until I reached 100cm. However, to improve my results, I would start from 100cm and move down to 0cm. This is because at 0cm, the voltage and the current is the highest, and so this may have had an effect on the power output throughout the entire experiment. It is better to start from by getting a low power output and watch it increase. To Expand This Investigation: Although this was a comprehendible and accurate investigation, it did not cover every aspect of measuring how the power output of a solar cell is affected. More experiments can be done to create a better understanding of what factors really do affect the power output. To extend this experiment, solar cells of different sizes could be used to see how their size or surface area is related to their power output. Different types of solar cells could be used. The angle of the light source in front of the solar cell could be altered. A bigger light source could be used. The distance of the solar cell from the light bulb could be increased, i.e. in this experiment I only took measurements up till 1 meter away from the bulb, so I could take measurements up to about 2 or 3 meters for more accurate results. ...read more.

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