Innovative Lives

Experiments with Solar Shingles

The Story of Inventor Subhendu Guha

 

Does air temperature affect the amount of energy the flexible solar shingle produces?

I. Purpose:

The purpose of this project is to determine if the air temperature affects the amount of energy the flexible solar shingle produces.

II. Procedure:

Each day for ten consecutive days, record the outdoor temperature and a description of the weather. Measure the voltage and resistance of the solar shingle with the multimeter and then calculate current and power. Be sure to make measurements in the same location and at the same time each day.

Solar Shingle
Muffin Fan
Multimeter

How to make measurements:

1. Measurements should be made under load. This means that the shingle is powering something. To put the shingle under load, power the fan with the shingle.
Warning: keep fingers away from the fan's moving parts!

2. To measure solar shingle voltage, turn the knob on the multimeter to 25 DCV, which means the multimeter can measure 0 to 25 DC volts. Touch the test probes to the circuit (shingle wires). One probe should touch each wire. Read and record the voltage.

3. To measure the resistance on the circuit, turn the knob on the multimeter to RX1 Ohms.Touch the test probes to the circuit. Read and record the resistance.


Ohm's Law

III. Data/Results:

In the chart below, record the date, outdoor temperature, and a description of the weather. Next, measure voltage and resistance and calculate current and power. Make measurements at the same time every day.


Measurements made at __:__
Date Outdoor Temperature Weather Description Voltage in Volts Resistance in Ohms Current in Amps Power in Watts
8/28/98 23.4 deg C partly cloudy and humid 10.8 5.21 10.8 / 5.21 = 2.07 10.8 X 2.07 = 22.4
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             

Does temperature affect how much power the solar shingle produces?

Find out by graphing your data. Plot the power in watts as a function of outdoor temperature.

Power as a function of outdoor temperature
graph

IV. Discussion:

  1. Why is it important to take the measurements at the same time every day?
  2. Does outdoor temperature affect the power generated?
  3. Were cloudy days cooler than sunny days?
  4. In what kind of weather did the shingle work best and why?

V. Conclusion:

What are three things you learned from this experiment?


This activity was created by Emily Wilson, Lemelson Center

All text and images © Smithsonian Institution. Updated 26 February 1999.



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