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Investigate the maximum power output of a solar cell (photovoltaic cell).

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Planning I am planning to investigate the maximum power output of a solar cell (photovoltaic cell). As I will be using independent and dependent variables I will need to keep many conditions constant. The independent variables I could change are resistance of circuit, light intensity, colours of light and surface area of cell. My dependent variables I will need to keep constant are power, voltage and current. I have decided to change the light intensity because I think it is the biggest influential factor and it is also the one that can change the most. For example, when a solar cell is used to provide electricity to a home, it is attached on a roof. It is also the independent variable on which the whole solar cell operates. I will change the voltage of the light, and the distance away from the bulb of the solar cell. I will keep the resistance of the circuit the same by using a fixed resistor. The lamp used will always be the same lamp and no other light source will be available because I will blackout the rest of the area using black paper. ...read more.


0.9 1.1 0.8 0.9 0.0009 0.0000081 0.0081 26 1 1.3 0.9 1.1 0.0011 0.0000121 0.0121 25 1.1 1.3 1 1.2 0.0012 0.0000144 0.0144 24 1.3 1.5 1.2 1.3 0.0013 0.0000169 0.0169 23 1.4 1.5 1.3 1.4 0.0014 0.0000196 0.0196 22 1.7 1.7 1.3 1.6 0.0016 0.0000256 0.0256 21 1.7 1.8 1.4 1.6 0.0016 0.0000256 0.0256 20 2 1.9 1.6 1.8 0.0018 0.0000324 0.0324 19 2.2 2 1.7 2 0.002 0.00004 0.04 18 2.2 2.2 1.9 2.1 0.0021 0.0000441 0.0441 17 2.4 2.5 2 2.3 0.0023 0.0000529 0.0529 16 2.4 2.6 2.1 2.4 0.0024 0.0000576 0.0576 15 2.7 2.7 2.2 2.5 0.0025 0.0000625 0.0625 14 2.9 2.7 2.4 2.7 0.0027 0.0000729 0.0729 13 3.3 2.7 2.5 2.9 0.0029 0.0000841 0.0841 12 3.5 3 2.7 3.1 0.0031 0.0000961 0.0961 11 3.8 3.1 2.9 3.3 0.0033 0.0001089 0.1089 10 4.1 3.3 3.1 3.5 0.0035 0.0001225 0.1225 My table of results showing for the results I found when I changed the voltage of the light by one volt at a time (this is the voltage on my table). Voltage (v) Current (ma) Current (ma) Current (ma) ...read more.


I would have liked to try the experiment by firstly finding the resistance that gave the solar cell a maximum power. In this way I could have found the highest power that the solar cell would give, instead of it just depending on the light source. I would also have liked to try the experiments with different colours and watts of lights to get some more varied data, which would fit in better with real life situations. When solar cells/panels are used to provide electricity in homes, they are placed on the roofs of houses. My evidence proves the theory that the nearer the light source is to the cell, the more effective the solar cell is. Also, as the light source (normally the sun) gets darker, the cells are less effective and my results prove this theory by using different voltages. This is why many houses with solar cells should be and are placed on the roofs of south facing houses, in order to ensure the cell receives maximum sunlight. If possible I would have liked to find at least 5 sets of data in the future to back-up my investigation but I am pleased with my results and they match up with my predictions. ?? ?? ?? ?? Fiona McDonnell POWER OUTPUT OF A SOLAR CELL 01/05/2007 1 ...read more.

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