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# Solar Panel: What Is A Small And Cheap Solar Cell? (5/17/2011)

I’m doing a science fair project where I find if the angle of solar cells affects how much energy is absorbed. I’ll be attaching a small solar cell to a voltage meter to measure the amount of energy the cell absorbs. I know nothing about solar cells or where to buy them. So,what type of solar cell will I need? How much will it cost?

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anthony May 17, 2011 at 8:03 pm

I suggest you take one off a small calculator. A solar panel that has enough juice to charge some small batteries will cost you no less than 20\$ (more than a small solar calculator). That is unless specialized store that sells electronic components for electronic circuit boards.

Jay May 17, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Interesting project. Radio shack sells a couple in the form (wires already attatched) that would be easy for a beginner to play with. Go into any store and ask for one and they’ll show you where they are.

The thing you’re going to want to measure is probably current, rather than voltage. The voltage is more or less just a function of the materials the cell is made of (about .5V), while the current is proportional to the solar flux. A cheap multimeter will make this measurement by just putting it across the wires of the cell.

What you should find is that the power coming out of a cell varies with the sine of the angle of incidence.

Electrical power, in watts, is the volts times the amps. So you would multiply .5volts times lets say for example 50milliamps with direct on sun and get 25milliwatts.

Also, you will be measuring the amount of solar energy CONVERTED, not absorbed. To measure the amount absolbed, you would need to know the amoubnt of solar energy incident on the cell, but not reflected, and that isn’t so easy.