Investigating The Performance Of Photovoltaic Cells

Intended Learning Outcomes

The students will be able to:

  • explain the effects of various parameters including distance from source, load resistance and orientation on the output of a solar cell
  • design and connect a simple electrical circuit and use a multimeter to measure the potential difference (voltage) across a component (in this case a resistance)
  • make measurements and record data with appropriate uncertainties, and analyse and evaluate the data collected.

Teaching Rationales

Students investigate the performance of photovoltaic cells. In particular they:

  • investigate the effects of load resistance on power output and to plot a current-voltage (I-V) curve
  • estimate the efficiency of conversion of solar energy to electrical energy
  • use the photovoltaic module to investigate the inverse square law of radiation from a light source
  • look (qualitatively only) at the variation in output with inclination of the photovoltaic module to incoming light.

Learning Areas, Strands, Achievement Objectives

7 Physics

7.1

  • (a) demonstrate an understanding of concepts, principles, and models
  • (b) apply concepts and principles to explain physical phenomena, systems and devices.

7.3

  • (a) carry out practical investigations to determine relationships, patterns, and trends in physical systems
  • (b) carry out practical investigations to identify and describe applications of physical concepts and principles
8 Physics

8.1

  • (a) demonstrate an understanding of concepts, principles, and models
  • (b) apply concepts and principles to explain physical phenomena, systems and devices

7.3

  • (a) carry out practical investigations to determine relationships, patterns, and trends in physical systems
  • (b) carry out practical investigations to identify and describe applications of physical concepts and principles.

Activity-specific Achievement Objectives

Achievement Standards Physics

2.1

  • Take measurements of physical quantities and analyse data graphically to determine a relationship

3.1

  • carry out a practical physics investigation with guidance, that leads to a mathematical relationship. (Inverse square law of radiation)

3.5

  • demonstrate an understanding of atoms, photons and nuclei

3.6

  • demonstrate understanding of electrical systems.