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The purpose of this toolkit is to give the students a hands-on experience of producing electricity using sunlight. A video CD can be included in the toolkit for demonstrations through which the students can be taught three types of wiring i.e. simple circuit, series circuit and parallel circuit and through these various circuits students can end up producing electricity using sunlight.

The Earth receives 174 petawatts (PW) i.e. equal to 1015 watts of incoming solar radiation (insolation) at the upper atmosphere. Approximately 30% is reflected back to space while the rest is absorbed by clouds, oceans and land masses. The spectrum of solar light at the Earth's surface is mostly spread across the visible and near-infrared ranges with a small part in the near-ultraviolet. Earth's land surface, oceans and atmosphere absorb solar radiation, and this raises their temperature. Warm air containing evaporated water from the oceans rises, causing atmospheric circulation or convection. When the air reaches a high altitude, where the temperature is low, water vapor condenses into clouds, which rain onto the Earth's surface, completing the water cycle. The latent heat of water condensation amplifies convection, producing atmospheric phenomena such as wind, cyclones, and anti-cyclones. Sunlight absorbed by the oceans and land masses keeps the surface at an average temperature of 14 C. By photosynthesis green plants convert solar energy into chemical energy, which produces food, wood and the biomass from which fossil fuels are derived. Yearly Solar Consumption Solar Wind Biomass Primary energy use (2005) Electricity (2005) fluxes & Human Energy 3,850,000 EJ 2,250 EJ 3,000 EJ 487 EJ 56.7 EJ

The total solar energy absorbed by Earth's atmosphere, oceans and land masses is approximately 3,850,000 exajoules (EJ) per year [The exajoule (EJ) is equal to 1018 joules]. Photosynthesis captures approximately 3,000 EJ per year in biomass. The amount of solar energy reaching the surface of the planet is so vast that in one year it is about twice as much as will ever be obtained from all of the Earth's non-renewable resources of coal, oil, natural gas, and mined uranium combined. Solar energy can be harnessed in different levels around the world. Depending on a geographical location the closer to the equator the more "potential" solar energy is available. Photovoltaic is different from Photosynthesis.

Lets Learn about Photovoltaics (PV) PV arrays convert sunlight to electricity without moving parts and without producing fuel wastes, air pollution, or greenhouse gases (GHG) during operation. They require very little maintenance and make no noise. Arrays can be mounted on all types of buildings and structures. PV direct current (DC) output can be conditioned into grid-quality alternating current (AC) electricity or used to charge batteries. Traditional mono-crystalline solar cells are made from silicon, are usually flat-plate, and are generally the most efficient. Multi-crystalline is a similar technology but is slightly less efficient. Efficiencies for crystalline panels range from 13 to 19 percent. A third type called thinfilm solar cells are made from amorphous silicon or nonsilicon materials such as cadmium telluride. Thin-film solar cells use layers of semiconductor materials only a few micrometers thick. Efficiencies for thin-film panels range from four to 12 percent.

Third-generation solar cells are being made from variety of new materials besides

silicon, including solar inks using conventional printing press technologies, solar dyes, and conductive plastics. They are technically attractive because they are made of low-cost materials. Manufacturing these cells could be significantly less expensive than older solid state cell designs. However, the efficiency expects to be a lot lower than the typical thin-film. A very promising new technology option is concentrating PV, or CPV. This tubular technology uses concentrators to focus direct solar radiation onto PV cells. Some of these currently available technologies reach efficiencies up to 29%. Most PV systems currently being installed are in flat-plate configurations, which are typically made from modules that hold about 40 cells or more. Many solar panels combined together to create one system is called a solar array. For large electric utility or industrial applications, hundreds of solar arrays are interconnected to form a large utility-scale PV system. These systems are generally fixed in a single position, but can be mounted on structures that track or tilt toward the sun on a seasonal basis or on structures that roll east to west over the course of a day. The amount of electricity that a system produces depends on the system type and orientation and the available solar resource. The solar resource is the amount of the suns energy reaching the earths surface, which varies across the different places. Activity with Photovoltaics In the Laboratory, let us have a solar toolkit for doing experiments with the solar photovoltaic energy. You must be already aware of the little experiment with solar thermal energy i.e. holding a hand lens over pieces of paper under the sunlight and the piece of paper burning to ashes. Toolkit will give a handon experience to students to make electricity using solar cells. This toolkit will consist of the following elements:

1. A Solar cell mounted on a firm substrate to take in light and turn it into electricity and out of it come two wires which are the two ends of a circuitpositive end(red wire) and negative end (black wire). 2. DC motor designed to handle 1 to 6volts.It is not polarity restricted and can be turned in any direction.

Wires for making electrical connection. LED bulbs of very low voltage (1 volt). Propellers and wheels which can be attached to the DC motor. Alligator clips which will squeeze the two ends of terminals and join them together making an electrical connection. 7. One way switch to make or break an electrical circuit/loop, which allows the flow of current when closed (ON) and stops the flow of current when open (OFF). 8. Sun dancer or any other element serving the purpose. 9. Pamphlet covering the wiring connections. A solar cell has two characteristics which are voltage and amperage. The voltage measures the electromotive force produced by the electrical force, in this case the cell can produce .5volts irrespective of the size. The amperage is equal to the amount of electrons flowing and the size not the chemistry determines the amperage it will produce. Size of the cell is directly proportional to the amperes of current produced. volts X amps= watts (power produced) Experiment No. 1 Objective: To design a simple solar circuit. Apparatus Required:

3. 4. 5. 6.

Theory: Voltage changes throughout a circuit and differs across components. Voltage is measured by putting a voltmeter in parallel across a component as pictured below; this is because a voltmeter has infinite resistance and if put in series would break the circuit stopping the flow of electricity.

Ammeter connected in series

Solar PV Module


Solar PV Module



Load Ammeter

Current (amps) is constant throughout a series circuit and splits in a parallel circuit evenly. Current is measured using an ammeter in series and the placement of the ammeter does not matter as the current is the same anywhere in a circuit. Circuit Diagram:

Inference: . Replace the LED bulb with a propeller attached to a DC motor. Increase the number of panels and note the inference. Experiment No. 2 Objective: To design a simple circuit with solar panels in series. Apparatus Required: Solar cells, wire, LED bulb, one way switch, ammeter, voltmeter, alligator clips, and sunlight. Theory: A series connection is made by connecting the positive and negative terminals together and it determines the force of electricity. The electricity goes through each cell and even if one of the cell is shadowed or removed the current stops flowing through the circuit. Circuit Diagram:
Modules connected in series


+ +

Solar PV Modules


Inference Vary the load Vary the no. of solar panels Experiment No. 3 Objective: To design a simple circuit with solar panels in parallel.

Theory: A parallel connection is made by connecting the positives together and the negatives together and it determines the volume of electricity. More is the surface area of the solar module, more electrons will flow across the circuit. In parallel connection the current continues to flow even if one cell is shadowed or removed as there are more pathways but still the voltage remains same. Circuit Diagram:


Modules connected in Parallel


Inference: Vary the load Vary the no. of solar panels