In this paper, experiments that can be introduced to Clean Energy Systems classes are described. The experiments investigate the effect of power characteristics (temperature, shade and tilt angle) on solar panel electricity production. Solar cell efficiency is the ratio of the electrical output of a solar cell to the incident energy in the form of sunlight. The energy conversion efficiency of a solar cell is the percentage of the solar energy to which the cell is exposed that is converted into electrical energy. Extreme temperatures can cause a decrease in solar panel’s power output and airstream can dissipate the heat and bring the solar panel to its normal operating condition. Solar panel efficiency is undesirably affected by heat and improved with introducing cooler medium.
As well as heat, solar panel loses its power when a part of it is shaded by trees or surrounding buildings. Before solar panel systems are designed for homes, usually a detailed shading analysis of the roof is conducted to reveal its patterns of shade and sunlight throughout the year.
By the same manner, how solar panels react to the direct and indirect rays from the sun in order to produce electricity is examined through experiments. Voltage, current and power flowing into a resistor are measured when the angle of the solar panel relative to the light source is changed. The tilt angles to the electrical measurements are linked to the differences in electrical generation.
Students can perform experimental procedures explained here and gain the conceptual understanding of the Solar Energy better. The investigations require student explanation of the question, method, display of data with the critical response from peers.