Investigate the maximum power output of a solar cell Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 10 July 2017

Investigate the maximum power output of a solar cell

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. The solar cell used will always be the same, as will the resistor and the ammeter. I will always repeat my experiment at least three times if possible to get an average of results.

When I am measuring the distance of the lamp, I will use a fixed resistance of 12v and when I vary the volts I will have a fixed distance of 10cm away from the lamp. In these ways, my investigation will be a fair test. I will use a fixed resistor at 10? and an ammeter connected to the circuit to measure the current of the circuit. The light shone onto the solar cell will be from a filament lamp, connected in a separate circuit to a power supply, on which I can vary the voltage. The light is going to be connected to a retort stand so that I can vary the distance the light is from the solar cell.

The voltage can be found out by using the formula, voltage = current x resistance, both of which I will know. I will then work out the power output of the solar cell by using the formula, power = voltage x current. In fact, I don’t actually need to work out the voltage, because if power = voltage x current and voltage = current x resistance I can use a new formula of power = resistance x current2. P=IV V=IR P=I2R I predict that the greater the distance the lamp is from the solar cell, the less light that reaches the solar cell therefore the cell will produce less power.

I also predict that the higher the voltage, the brighter the light and therefore the higher the power. I predicted this by first of all finding some preliminary results to also find some suitable ranges. I am going to vary the voltage from 0 to 12 volts, as that is the maximum the power supply will go up to. The height of the lamp will vary from 10cm to 50cm away from the solar cell. I have tested these ranges by finding some preliminary results and I found that using a resistance of 10? is suitable for fair results. Firstly, I will connect my circuit using the apparatus above.

I will then test the voltage by changing it on the power supply connected to the light. I will find three sets of results and then average them by changing the voltage by one volt every time. Then I will test for light intensity by moving the lamp (attached to a stand) up and down by one centimetre each time in order for the light to move further away from the solar cell. Observing My table of results showing for the results I found when I changed the light intensity by moving the lamp up and down on a stand (this is the height on my table).

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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 10 July 2017

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