Saving the Earth One Panel at a Time

The Objective : The objective of this experiment was to find how the angle and direction a solar panel faces affect the amount of electricity it generates. The goal was to find which angle and direction would be best for a solar panel to capture the most sunlight and, thus, generate more electricity in winter and spring. It is inferred that the panel facing south and has an angle of 45º will generate the most electricity because the equator is south of California and 45º is an angle where it will be able to get sunlight when the sun is both in the west and almost directly hitting the panel.

Methods/Materials

After placing the three five watt panels in a flat open area, the panels facing north and south were propped up to a 30º angle while the third was placed at 0º equidistant from the other two.

Then, every other hour from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. the milli-amps (mA) and voltage of each panel was recorded using a multimeter and alligator clips.

This was repeated on three separate days all of about the same weather but changing the angle of the north and south panels to 45º and 60º. The experiment was conducted in winter and spring which allowed two sets of data to be collected.

Results

From the data collected it was concluded that, in the winter, the panel at 60º and faced south generated the most electricity at 410 mA at its peak.

The data collected also showed that in the spring the panel at 45º generated the most electricity with 440 mA at its peak.

The daily winter averages for the panel facing south were 248 mA for 30º, 244 mA for 45º, and 287 mA for 60º. The daily spring averages for the panel facing south were 363 mA for 30º, 370 mA for 45º, and 315 mA for 60º.

The voltage of the panels was about 19.7, thus, making all the readings accurate. The panel at 0º stayed around 160 mA in winter and 323 mA in spring.

Some days seemed to have few clouds or more sunlight than other days. The sun was pretty low in the sky during winter trials while it was pretty high in the spring.

Conclusions/Discussion

The hypothesis created was supported. The hypothesis that said that the 45º angle of the panel facing south would generate the most electricity was supported in the spring because it had the highest milli-amps compared to all the other panels.

During the winter, however, the panel facing south with an angle of 60º generated the most electricity. The panel facing south always generated more electricity than the other two panels.

This project was to find the optimum angle and direction of a solar panel in order to generate the most electricty throughout the day.

Science Fair Project done By Anshul B. Chandan

 

 

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