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# Understanding Solar Energy Teacher Page

## Photovoltaic Power Output & I-V Curves

Student  Objective
Key  Words:
The  student: active  area  efficiency
 ZLOOEHDEOHWRGHWHUPLQHWKHYROWDJH ampere  (amp)
current  and  power  of  a  given  PV circuit
module current
 JLYHQWKHHIILFLHQF\LUUDGLDQFHDQG direct  current  (DC)
WKHSRZHU ZDWW UDWLQJRIDPRGXOH efficiency
will  be  able  to  determine  the  size  of insolation  meter
the  array  necessary  to  produce  given I-­V  curve
amounts  of  power load
 JLYHQDQ,9FXUYHZLOOEHDEOHWR maximum  power  current  (Imp)
determine  the  module’s  maximum maximum  power  point  (Pmp)
power  point maximum  power  voltage  (Vmp)
 ZLOOEHDEOHWRH[SODLQKRZDQ,9 module
curve  is  generated. multipurpose  meter
ohms
Materials: Ohm’s  Law
 ODERUDWRU\PDQXDO open  circuit  voltage  (Voc)
 NH\ZRUGOLVW power  (DC)
 SKRWRYROWDLFPRGXOHDQ\VL]H 9 short  circuit  current  (Isc)
\$SDQHOLVXVHGLQH[DPSOHV solar  irradiance
 LQVRODWLRQPHWHU VRODUPHWHU solar  noon
 PXOWLPHWHU SHUJURXS total  area  efficiency
 WHFKQLFDOVSHFLILFDWLRQVIRUPRGXOH variable  resistor  (rheostat)
EHLQJXVHGLQFOXGLQJYROWDJH voltage
DPSHUDJHRSHQFLUFXLWYROWDJHVKRUW
circuit  amperage  and  maximum
power  rating Time:
 YDULDEOHUHVLVWRU UKHRVWDW ZLWK FODVVSHULRGV
current  rating  greater  than  short
circuit  current  for  module
 ZLUHVZLWKDOOLJDWRUFOLSV SHU
group)
 WKHUPRPHWHU
 WDSH
 JUDSKSDSHU
 UXOHU

Florida Solar Energy Center Photovoltaic Power Output & IV Curves / Page 1
Procedure  (prior  to  class)
 /RRNXS\RXUORFDOODWLWXGHLI\RXDUHXQIDPLOLDUZLWKLW
 )DPLOLDUL]H\RXUVHOIZLWKWKHPXOWLPHWHUWKDWWKHVWXGHQWVZLOOEHXVLQJ:KHQPHDVXULQJ
amperage  a  load  must  be  used  unless  you  are  using  a  fused  multimeter.
 0DNHVXUHWKDWWKHSRZHUUDWLQJRIWKHYDULDEOHUHVLVWRU UKHRVWDW H[FHHGVWKHPD[LPXP
SRZHUUDWLQJRIWKHPRGXOHDQGWKDWWKHUHVLVWDQFH RKPV IDOOVZLWKLQJRIWKH
PD[LPXPSRZHUSRLQWUHVLVWDQFH 5 9, )RUWKH9SDQHOXVHDZDWWRKP
rheostat.
 ,IWHUPUHYLHZLVQHHGHG RSHQFLUFXLWYROWDJHVKRUWFLUFXLWFXUUHQWPD[LPXPSRZHU
YROWDJHHWF DVVLJQWKH.H\:RUG&URVVZRUGWREHFRPSOHWHGHLWKHULQSDSHURURQOLQH
version.

## Procedure  (during  class  time)

1. Engage:  /HDGDGLVFXVVLRQRQZKDWWKHVWXGHQWVPD\DOUHDG\NQRZDERXWVRODUHQHUJ\LQ
general  and  photovoltaics  in  particular.    Points  to  cover  should  include:
 WKHGLVWLQFWLRQEHWZHHQVRODUWKHUPDO XVLQJVRODUHQHUJ\WRKHDWVRPHWKLQJ DQG
photovoltaics  (turning  solar  energy  directly  into  electricity)
 FXUUHQWXVHVRISKRWRYROWDLFVWKDWWKHVWXGHQWVPLJKWEHIDPLOLDUZLWK LHKLJKZD\
FDOOER[HVURDGVLJQVDQGELOOERDUGVVLJQDOEXR\VVDWHOOLWHVDVZHOODV
FDOFXODWRUVZDWFKHVDQGUDGLRV 
 ,IWKLVLVWKHILUVWWLPHWKHFODVVKDVZRUNHGZLWKHOHFWULFLW\OHDGDGLVFXVVLRQRIZKDWWKH\
DOUHDG\NQRZDERXWEDVLFHOHFWULFDOFLUFXLWV3RLQWVWRFRYHUVKRXOGLQFOXGH
 WKHFLUFXODUQDWXUHRIDFLUFXLW
 'LUHFW&XUUHQW '& LVDµIORZ¶RIHOHFWULFFKDUJHIURPWKHSRVLWLYHWRWKHQHJDWLYH
FKDUJH7KLVW\SHRIFXUUHQWLVIRXQGLQEDWWHULHVSKRWRYROWDLFGHYLFHVDQG
thermocouples
 \$OWHUQDWLQJ&XUUHQW \$& LVWKHW\SHRIHOHFWULFDOFKDUJHFDUULHGWKURXJKXWLOLW\
lines.    This  type  of  current  reversed  by  fluctuating  magnetic  fields
 DPSHUDJH DPS LVWKHXQLWRIPHDVXUHRIWKHUDWHRIIORZ
 YROWDJH YROW LVWKHXQLWRIPHDVXUHRIWKHIRUFHRIWKHµSXVK¶WKURXJKWKHFLUFXLW
 6WXGHQWVVKRXOGZRUNLQWHDPVRIVWXGHQWV3DVVRXWPDWHULDOV,I\RXDUHXVLQJWKH
939SDQHOVUHPLQGVWXGHQWVWKDWWKHSDQHOVDUHIUDJLOHDQGPD\EHEURNHQLIEHQW
 ,IWKLVLVWKHILUVWWLPHWKHFODVVKDVXVHGDPXOWLPHWHUH[SODLQLWVEDVLFIXQFWLRQDQGXVH
 6WXGHQWVVKRXOGFRPSOHWHWKHDFWLYLWLHVLQWKH/DERUDWRU\0DQXDO

Related  Reading
 Photovoltaics:  Design  and  Installation  Manual  E\6RODU(QHUJ\,QWHUQDWLRQDO 1HZ
6RFLHW\3XEOLVKHUV
6RODU(QHUJ\,QWHUQDWLRQDO 6(, LVDQRQSURILWWKDWWUDLQVDGXOWVDQG\RXWKLQUHQHZDEOH
energy  and  environmental  building  technologies.    This  manual  is  well-­suited  for  those
ZKRKDYHVRPHHOHFWULFDOH[SHULHQFHDQGVWXGHQWVLQKLJKVFKRROWHFKSUHSOHYHOFRXUVHV
7KHERRNFRQWDLQVDQRYHUYLHZRISKRWRYROWDLFHOHFWULFLW\DQGDGHWDLOHGGHVFULSWLRQRI
39V\VWHPFRPSRQHQWVLQFOXGLQJ39PRGXOHVEDWWHULHVFRQWUROOHUVDQGLQYHUWHUV,W
DOVRLQFOXGHVFKDSWHUVRQVL]LQJSKRWRYROWLDFV\VWHPVDQDO\]LQJVLWHVDQGLQVWDOOLQJ39

Florida Solar Energy Center Photovoltaic Power Output & IV Curves / Page 2
systems.

Internet  Sites
http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/consumer/solar_electricity/basics/index.htm
)ORULGD6RODU(QHUJ\&HQWHU¶VSKRWRYROWDLFIXQGDPHQWDOVSDJHH[SODLQVWKHEDVLFVRI
SKRWRYROWDLFFHOOVLQFOXGLQJWKHLUPDQXIDFWXUHWKHFRPSRQHQWVRIV\VWHPVDVZHOODVWKH
pros  and  cons  of  photovoltaic  power.
http://www.mathconnect.com/ENGINEERING-­Formula.htm
&RPPRQHOHFWULFDOIRUPXODVDQGFRQYHUVLRQVZLWKPDWKWXWRULDOOLQNV
http://www.nmsea.org/Curriculum/Primer/from_oil_wells_to_solar_cells.htm
1HZ0H[LFR6RODU(QHUJ\\$VVRFLDWLRQ¶VFrom  Oil  Wells  to  Solar  Cells:  A  Renewable
Energy  Primer&RQWDLQVDQRYHUYLHZRIUHQHZDEOHHQHUJ\LQFOXGLQJEHQHILWVFRVWVDQG
REVWDFOHVWRLPSOHPHQWDWLRQ\$OVRLQFOXGHVDJRRGLQWURGXFWLRQWRVRODUHQHUJ\
technology.
http://www.nmsea.org/Curriculum/7_12/PV/explore_pv.htm
1HZ0H[LFR6RODU(QHUJ\\$VVRFLDWLRQ.    \$EDVLFH[SODQDWLRQRIKRZDSKRWRYROWDLFFHOO
produces  electricity.

Florida Solar Energy Center Photovoltaic Power Output & IV Curves / Page 3
Understanding Solar Energy Answer Key

## Photovoltaic Power Output & I-V Curves

Laboratory  Exercises

 \$QVZHUVZLOOYDU\EXWVKRXOGEHIDLUO\FRQVLVWHQWEHWZHHQJURXSV
 \$QVZHUVZLOOYDU\EXWVWXGHQWVVKRXOGVKRZDNQRZOHGJHRIKRZWRDSSO\DQHTXDWLRQWR
calculate  the  power  values.
 6WXGHQW¶VUHDGLQJVZLOOSUREDEO\EHORZHUWKDQSXEOLVKHGPRGXOHVSHFLILFDWLRQV7KLVLV
mainly  due  to  environmental  factors  and  not  using  the  optimum  tilt  angle.
 \$QVZHUVZLOOYDU\EXWVWXGHQWVVKRXOGVKRZHYLGHQFHWKDWWKH\DUHFRQVLGHULQJUHDO
world  conditions  (such  as  weather)  to  be  mitigating  factors.
 'DWDUHDGLQJVZLOOYDU\EXWVKRXOGVKRZVRPHFRQVLVWHQF\EHWZHHQJURXSV7KHUHVWLOO
ZLOOSUREDEO\EHDYDULDQFHEHWZHHQJURXSVKRZHYHUVLQFHWKHVWXGHQWVKDYHQ¶W\HW
OHDUQHGDERXWWLOWDQJOHVDQGPD\QRWEHXVLQJWKHRSWLPXPDQJOH
 \$QVZHUVZLOOYDU\EXWVWXGHQW¶V,9FXUYHVVKRXOGIROORZWKHW\SLFDOVKDSHDQGEH
ODEHOHGDQGWLWOHGFRUUHFWO\7KH[D[LVLVYROWDJH\D[LVLVFXUUHQWDQGJUDSKLQWHUYDOV
should  be  even.    The  title  of  the  graph  should  include  the  irradiance  level  and
temperature.
 \$QVZHUVZLOOYDU\EXWVKRXOGFRPHIURPWKHDSSURSULDWHSRLQWVRQWKHJUDSK6WXGHQWV
should  be  able  to  find  the  maximum  power  point  from  their  graphs.
 6WXGHQW¶VUHDGLQJVZLOOSUREDEO\EHORZHUWKDQSXEOLVKHGPRGXOHVSHFLILFDWLRQV
 \$QVZHUVZLOOYDU\EXWVWXGHQWVVKRXOGVKRZHYLGHQFHWKDWWKH\DUHFRQVLGHULQJUHDO
world  conditions  (such  as  weather)  to  be  mitigating  factors.
 6WXGHQWVVKRXOGPHQWLRQZHDWKHUDQGWKHLQWHQVLW\RIVXQOLJKW7KH\PD\DOVRUHDOL]HWKDW
WLOWDQJOHFDQFDXVHGLVFUHSDQFLHVLQWKHGDWD0RUHGDWDSRLQWVFRXOGDOVRLQFUHDVHWKH
reliability  of  the  data.
 \$QVZHUVZLOOYDU\EXWVWXGHQWVVKRXOGVKRZSURSHUXVHRIWKHIRUPXODIRUHIILFLHQF\
 6WXGHQWVUHDGLQJVZLOOSUREDEO\EHORZHUWKDQSXEOLVKHGPRGXOHHIILFLHQF\
 6WXGHQWVVKRXOGUHDOL]HWKDWDQLQFUHDVHLQYDOXHVIRUHLWKHUWKHLUUDGLHQFHOHYHORUWKH
SRZHURXWSXWLQWKHHTXDWLRQZLOOPHDQDKLJKHUHIILFLHQF\YDOXH
 :LWKDQHIILFLHQF\UDWLQJLQVRODWLRQGDWDIRUDJLYHQDUHDDQGDGHVLUHGSRZHURXWSXWWKH
VL]HRIWKHDUUD\QHFHVVDU\IRUWKDWORDGFDQEHGHWHUPLQHG&RQYHUVHO\LIWKHVL]HRIWKH
DUUD\WKHLUUDGLDQFHDQGWKHHIILFLHQF\DUHNQRZQWKHPD[LPXPSRZHUSRLQWFDQEH
determined.
 \$QVZHUVVKRXOGLQFOXGHORVVWRKHDW7KH\PD\DOVRLQFOXGHORVVLQWKHWUDQVPLVVLRQRI
WKHHOHFWULFLW\ UHVLVWDQFHLQWKHFLUFXLW UHIOHFWLRQRIIWKHPRGXOHDVZHOODVOLJKWKLWWLQJ
areas  that  do  not  have  photovoltaic  materials.

Florida Solar Energy Center Photovoltaic Power Output & IV Curves / Page 4
Problem  Set

1. Insolation  meter
 ZDWWV
 DPSV
 \$QVZHUVE FXUUHQWDWRSHQFLUFXLW DQGF YROWDJHDWVKRUWFLUFXLW ZLOOERWKKDYHDYDOXH
of  zero.
 G P)
 1R
7. There  are  an  infinite  number  of  operating  (load)  points  along  an  I-­V  curve.

## Key  Word  Crossword

0 8 / 7 , 3 8 5 3 2 6 (
1 3
5 ( 6 , 6 7 2 5 (
2 1 2 2 1
/ 6
, 5 5 \$ ' , \$ 1 & ( +
7 0 2
9 \$ 5 , \$ % / ( 6 2 / \$ 5
O O D T
/ 1 8
T C L
0 \$ ; , 0 8 0 3 2 : ( 5
G R O
( & , 5 & 8 , 7
( 1
1 7
0 ( 7 ( 5

 \$PHDVXUHRIWKHVXQOLJKW¶VSRZHUGHQVLW\(solar  irradiance)
 :KHQ]HURFXUUHQWLVIORZLQJDQGWKHPD[LPXPYROWDJHLVSURGXFHGIURPDGHYLFH(open

Florida Solar Energy Center Photovoltaic Power Output & IV Curves / Page 5
circuit  voltage)
 7KHPD[LPXPFXUUHQWSURGXFHGE\DGHYLFHFRUUHVSRQGLQJWR]HURYROWDJH 
 \$QLQVWUXPHQWXVHGWRPHDVXUHDQHOHFWULFDOV\VWHP¶VFXUUHQWUHVLVWDQFHDQGYROWDJH
output  (multipurpose  meter)
 7KHWLPHRIGD\ZKHQWKH6XQLVDWLWVKLJKHVWSRLQWLQWKHVN\(solar  noon)
 \$GHYLFHXVHGWRPHDVXUHWKHDPRXQWRIVRODULUUDGLHQFH(insolation  meter)
 \$GHYLFHWKDWSURYLGHVDYDULDEOHDPRXQWRIUHVLVWDQFHLQDFLUFXLW(variable  resistor)
 7KHYROWDJHYDOXHRIDGHYLFHDWLWVPD[LPXPSRZHUSRLQW(maximum  power  voltage)
 \$QXPEHURISKRWRYROWDLFFHOOVHOHFWULFDOO\ZLUHGLQDVHDOHGXQLWIRUXVHLQDUUD\V
(module)
 7KHSRLQWZKHUHWKHSURGXFWRIFXUUHQWDQGYROWDJHLVDWDPD[LPXPSRZHU(maximum
power  point)

Florida Solar Energy Center Photovoltaic Power Output & IV Curves / Page 6
Understanding Solar Energy Florida Sunshine Standards
Benchmarks

## Photovoltaic  Power Output & I-V Curves

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

## Nature  of  Science

Standard  1 SC.912.N.1. X

## Earth  and  Space

Standard  5 SC.912.E.5. X

Physical  Science

## Mathematics  Standards MA912.A.1.4,  MA.912.A.2.1,  MA.912.A.2.2,  MA.912.A.2.13,  MA.912.A.10.1

Science  Standards
Standard  1:  The  Practice  of  Science
 6&1'HILQHDSUREOHPEDVHGRQDVSHFLILFERG\RINQRZOHGJHIRUH[DPSOH
ELRORJ\FKHPLVWU\SK\VLFVDQGHDUWKVSDFHVFLHQFHDQGGRWKHIROORZLQJ
 SRVHTXHVWLRQVDERXWWKHQDWXUDOZRUOG
 FRQGXFWV\VWHPDWLFREVHUYDWLRQV
 XVHWRROVWRJDWKHUDQDO\]HDQGLQWHUSUHWGDWD WKLVLQFOXGHVWKHXVHRI
PHDVXUHPHQWLQPHWULFDQGRWKHUV\VWHPVDQGDOVRWKHJHQHUDWLRQDQG
LQWHUSUHWDWLRQRIJUDSKLFDOUHSUHVHQWDWLRQVRIGDWDLQFOXGLQJGDWDWDEOHVDQG
graphs)
 SRVHDQVZHUVH[SODQDWLRQVRUGHVFULSWLRQVRIHYHQWV
8. generate  explanations  that  explicate  or  describe  natural  phenomena  (inferences)
9. use  appropriate  evidence  and  reasoning  to  justify  these  explanations  to  others
 FRPPXQLFDWHUHVXOWVRIVFLHQWLILFLQYHVWLJDWLRQVDQG
11. evaluate  the  merits  of  the  explanations  produced  by  others.
Standard  5:  Earth  in  Space  and  Time
 6&(([SODLQWKHSK\VLFDOSURSHUWLHVRIWKH6XQDQGLWVG\QDPLFQDWXUHDQG
FRQQHFWWKHPWRFRQGLWLRQVDQGHYHQWVRQ(DUWK
Standard  10:  Energy
 6&3'LIIHUHQWLDWHDPRQJWKHYDULRXVIRUPVRIHQHUJ\DQGUHFRJQL]HWKDWWKH\
can  be  transformed  from  one  form  to  others.
 6&3'LIIHUHQWLDWHDPRQJFRQGXFWRUVVHPLFRQGXFWRUVDQGLQVXODWRUV
 6&3,QYHVWLJDWHDQGH[SODLQWKHUHODWLRQVKLSVDPRQJFXUUHQWYROWDJH
resistance  and  power.

Florida Solar Energy Center Photovoltaic Power Output & IV Curves / Page 7
Mathematics  Standards
Algebra  -­  Standard  1:  Real  and  Complex  Number  Systems
 0\$\$3HUIRUPRSHUDWLRQVRQUHDOQXPEHUV LQFOXGLQJLQWHJHUH[SRQHQWV
UDGLFDOVSHUFHQWVFLHQWLILFQRWDWLRQDEVROXWHYDOXHUDWLRQDOQXPEHUVLUUDWLRQDOQXPEHUV
using  multi-­step  and  real-­world  problems.
Algebra  -­  Standard  2:  Relations  and  Functions
 0\$\$&UHDWHDJUDSKWRUHSUHVHQWDUHDOZRUOGIXQFWLRQ
 0\$\$,QWHUSUHWDJUDSKUHSUHVHQWLQJDUHDOZRUOGVLWXDWLRQ
 0\$\$6ROYHUHDOZRUOGSUREOHPVLQYROYLQJUHODWLRQVDQGIXQFWLRQV
Algebra  -­  Standard  10:  Mathematical  Reasoning  and  Problem  Solving
 0\$\$8VHDYDULHW\RISUREOHPVROYLQJVWUDWHJLHVVXFKDVGUDZLQJDGLDJUDP
PDNLQJDFKDUWJXHVVDQGFKHFNVROYLQJDVLPSOHUSUREOHPZULWLQJDQHTXDWLRQ
ZRUNLQJEDFNZDUGVDQGFUHDWLQJDWDEOH
 0\$\$'HFLGHZKHWKHUDVROXWLRQLVUHDVRQDEOHLQWKHFRQWH[WRIWKHRULJLQDO
situation.

Florida Solar Energy Center Photovoltaic Power Output & IV Curves / Page 8
Understanding Solar Energy Key Words/Definitions

## Photovoltaic  Power Output & I-V Curves

active  area  efficiency    -­  the  ratio  of  maximum  electrical  power  output  compared  to  the  light
SRZHULQFLGHQWRQRQO\WKHDUHDRIWKHGHYLFHWKDWLVH[SRVHGRUµDFWLYH¶VHPLFRQGXFWRUPDWHULDO

ampere  (amp)    -­  a  unit  of  electrical  current  or  rate  of  flow  of  electrons.    One  volt  across  one  ohm
RIUHVLVWDQFHFDXVHVDFXUUHQWIORZRIRQHDPSHUH2QHDPSHUHLVHTXDOWR[ 18  electrons
SHUVHFRQGSDVVLQJDJLYHQSRLQWLQDFLUFXLW6\PEROLV,

circuitWKHFLUFXODUSDWKRIDQHOHFWULFDOFXUUHQWLQFOXGLQJWKHVRXUFHDQGDQ\ORDGVRUGHYLFHV
powered  by  it

direct  current  (DC)    -­  a  one  way  flow  of  electric  current  -­  from  positive  to  negative

efficiency    -­  the  ratio  of  output  of  a  device  compared  to  the  input  to  the  device

insolation  meterDGHYLFHWRPHDVXUHWKHDPRXQWRIVRODULUUDGLDQFH\$OVRFDOOHGD
S\UDQRPHWHU.

I-­V  curve    -­  the  plot  of  electrical  output  (voltage  and  current)  characteristics  of  a  photovoltaic
cell  or  module  at  a  particular  temperature  and  irradiance

load    -­  any  device  or  appliance  that  is  using  power  in  an  electrical  circuit

maximum  power  current  (Imp)    -­  the  amount  of  current  of  a  given  device  at  its  maximum  power
point

maximum  power  point  (Pmp)    -­  the  point  where  the  product  of  current  and  voltage  is  at
maximum  power

maximum  power  voltage  (Vmp)    -­  the  voltage  value  of  a  given  device  at  its  maximum  power
point

moduleDQXPEHURISKRWRYROWDLFFHOOVHOHFWULFDOO\ZLUHGWRJHWKHUXVXDOO\LQDVHDOHGXQLWIRU
handling  and  assembling  into  panels  and  arrays

multipurpose  meter    -­  an  instrument  to  measure  electrical  output  in  amps  and  volts  and
resistance  in  ohms

ohms    -­  the  unit  of  electrical  resistance  of  a  circuit  in  which  a  potential  difference  of  one  volt

Florida Solar Energy Center Photovoltaic Power Output & IV Curves / Page 9
SURGXFHVDFXUUHQWRIRQHDPSHUH6\PEROLV5

Ohm’s  LawWKHFXUUHQWLQDFLUFXLWLVGLUHFWO\SURSRUWLRQDOWRWKHYROWDJHDFURVVWKHFLUFXLWDQG
inversely  proportional  to  the  total  resistance  of  the  circuit
I  =  V  /  R
V  =  I  x  R
R  =  V  /  I
%\VXEVWLWXWLQJWKHHTXDWLRQIRUSRZHU P  =  V  x  I YDULDWLRQVLQ2KP¶VODZFDQDOVREH
expressed  as  follows:
P  =  I2  x  R
P  =  V2/R

## open  circuit  voltage  (Voc)WKHPD[LPXPYROWDJHSURGXFHGIURPDGHYLFHFRUUHVSRQGLQJWR

zero  current  flow

power  (DC)LQ'&FLUFXLWVSRZHULVJLYHQE\WKHSURGXFWRIWKHYROWDJHDQGFXUUHQW
P  =  V  x  I (where  P  is  the  power  in  watts)

## short  circuit  current  (Isc)    -­  WKHPD[LPXPFXUUHQWSURGXFHGE\DGHYLFHFRUUHVSRQGLQJWR]HUR

voltage

solar  irradianceWKHPHDVXUHRIWKHSRZHUGHQVLW\RIVXQOLJKW([SUHVVHGLQZDWWVSHUVTXDUH
PHWHU7KHVRODUFRQVWDQWIRUHDUWKLVWKHLUUDGLDQFHUHFHLYHGE\WKHHDUWKIURPWKHVXQ
:PDWWKHWRSRIWKHDWPRVSKHUHDQG ZP  after  passing  perpendicularly  through  the
atmosphere.

solar  noonWKHWLPHRIGD\ZKHQWKHVXQLVDWLWVKLJKHVWSRLQWLQWKHVN\\$WWKLVWLPHLQWKH
QRUWKHUQKHPLVSKHUHWKHVXQ¶VVKDGRZZLOOSRLQWGLUHFWO\QRUWK

total  area  efficiency    -­  the  ratio  of  maximum  electrical  power  output  compared  to  the  total  light
power  incident  on  the  entire  device

variable  resistor    -­  a  device  that  provides  a  variable  amount  of  resistance  (impedance  to  flow)  in
DFLUFXLWWKHUHE\DFWLQJDVDORDGLQWKHFLUFXLW

voltageDPHDVXUHRIWKHIRUFHRUµSXVK¶JLYHQWKHHOHFWURQVLQDQHOHFWULFDOFLUFXLWDPHDVXUH
of  electric  potential.    One  volt  produces  one  amp  of  current  when  acting  against  a  resistance  of
RQHRKP6\PEROLV9

Florida Solar Energy Center Photovoltaic Power Output & IV Curves / Page 10
Understanding Solar Energy Laboratory Manual

## Photovoltaic  Power Output & I-V Curves

In  this  investigation  you  will  explore  some  of  the  general  characteristics  of  a  photovoltaic
PRGXOHDQGOHDUQKRZWRSORWDQGUHDGDFXUUHQWYROWDJH ,9 FXUYHWKHPRVWLPSRUWDQW
performance  descriptor  for  a  photovoltaic  device.

Solar  Irradiance

##  'HWHUPLQHWKHDPRXQWRIVRODULUUDGLDQFH :P)  using  an  insolation  meter  (also  called  a

S\UDQRPHWHU 0DNHVXUH\RXIDFHWKHPHWHUGLUHFWO\DWWKHVXQDQGPRYHLWDURXQG
slightly  to  find  the  direction  that  gives  you  the  highest  reading.    Record  this  reading
EHORZDQGLQWKHFKDUWLQTXHVWLRQ

## Location  (latitude)                                                                                                        Irradiance  reading                                                                  :P

Power  Output

 'HWHUPLQHWKH'&YROWDJHDQGFXUUHQWRI\RXUVRODUPRGXOH&RQQHFWWKHPXOWLSXUSRVH
PHWHUWR\RXUPRGXOHDQGUHFRUG\RXUUHDGLQJVLQWKHFKDUWEHORZWDNLQJWKHYROWDJHDQG
current  readings  and  recording  them  below.    Repeat  the  procedure  three  times  and
calculate  the  average  of  the  readings.
Irradiance  (W/m2) Voltage Current Power
(V) (Amps) (Watts)
Trial  1
Trial  2
Trial  3
Average

## 7RILQGWKHSRZHURXWSXWRIWKHPRGXOHFDOFXODWHWKHSRZHU PHDVXUHGLQZDWWV XVLQJWKH

formula:
Power   : =  Volts  (V)  x  Amps  (I)

 \$QDO\]H\RXUUHVXOWV+RZGLG\RXUUHVXOWVIRUYROWVDPSVDQGSRZHUFRPSDUHWRWKH
PRGXOH¶VVSHFLILFDWLRQV"

Florida Solar Energy Center Photovoltaic Power Output & IV Curves / Page 11
 :KDWGR\RXWKLQNFRXOGKDYHDFFRXQWHGIRUWKLVGLIIHUHQFH"

I-­V  Curve
The  current-­voltage  (I-­V)  characteristic  is  the  basic  descriptor  of  photovoltaic  device
performance.    This  is  plotted  on  a  graph  with  voltage  (the  independent  variable)  on  the  x  axis  and
FXUUHQW WKHGHSHQGHQWYDULDEOH RQWKH\D[LVZKLOHNHHSLQJLUUDGLDQFHDQGWHPSHUDWXUHOHYHOV
FRQVWDQW\$W\SLFDO,9FXUYHLVVKRZQEHORZ

7KH,9FXUYHUHSUHVHQWVDQLQILQLWHQXPEHURIFXUUHQWYROWDJHRSHUDWLQJSRLQWVWKHVSHFLILF
operating  point  being  determined  by  the  electrical  load  (device  or  appliance)  connected  to  the  PV
system.    These  current-­voltage  operating  points  are  plotted  between  the  short-­circuit  current
point  (Isc)  where  the  device  produces  maximum  current  and  zero  voltage  and  the  open-­circuit
voltage  point  (Voc)  where  the  device  produces  maximum  voltage  and  zero  current.    The  point  at
which  a  PV  device  delivers  its  maximum  power  output  and  operates  at  its  highest  efficiency  is
referred  to  as  its  maximum  power  point  (Pmp).    The  voltage  and  current  values  at  the  maximum
power  point  are  referred  to  as  the  maximum  power  voltage  (Vmp)  and  the  maximum  power  current
(Imp UHVSHFWLYHO\

##  Collect  I-­V  curve  data  for  your  module.

)RUEHVWUHVXOWVGDWDIRU,9FXUYHVVKRXOGEHFROOHFWHGXQGHUFOHDUVNLHVZLWKLQWZR
KRXUVRIVRODUQRRQ6RODUFHOOWHPSHUDWXUHVKRXOGEHDOORZHGWRVWDELOL]HEHIRUHEHLQJ
PHDVXUHGDOORZILYHPLQXWHVEHWZHHQWDNLQJ\RXUSDQHORXWVLGHDQGGDWDFROOHFWLRQ
'XULQJWKHWHVWWKH,9FXUYHGDWDSRLQWVVKRXOGEHWDNHQDVTXLFNO\DVSUDFWLFDOWR
minimize  the  effect  of  a  change  in  irradiance  level.
 8VLQJWKHVPDOO39PRGXOHYDULDEOHUHVLVWRU UKHRVWDW DQGZLUHVZLWKDOOLJDWRU
FOLSVDVVHPEOHWKHWHVWFLUFXLWDVVKRZQEHORZOHDYLQJWKHSRVLWLYHOHDGWRWKH39
PRGXOHGLVFRQQHFWHG%HVXUH\RXUPXOWLPHWHULVVHWFRUUHFWO\IRUWKH
PHDVXUHPHQW\RXZLVKWRREWDLQ\$VN\RXULQVWUXFWRUWRFKHFN\RXUFLUFXLWEHIRUH
continuing.

Florida Solar Energy Center Photovoltaic Power Output & IV Curves / Page 12
 'HWHUPLQHWKHEHJLQQLQJDPRXQWRIVRODULUUDGLDQFHXVLQJDQLQVRODWLRQPHWHUDQG
record  this  below.
 )DFHWKH39PRGXOHWRZDUGWKHVXQ7DSHDWKHUPRPHWHURQWKHHGJHRIWKH
PRGXOHEHLQJFDUHIXOQRWWRFRYHUDQ\RIWKHSKRWRYROWDLFFHOOVDQGUHFRUGWKH
beginning  module  temperature.
 &RQQHFWWKHSRVLWLYHOHDGIURPWKHPRGXOHWRWKHPXOWLPHWHU
 \$GMXVWWKHYDULDEOHUHVLVWRUXQWLO\RXJHWDUHDGLQJRI]HURRKPV YROWDJHUHDGLQJ
VKRXOGEH]HUR DQGUHFRUGWKHVKRUWFLUFXLWFXUUHQW,scLQWKHGDWDWDEOH¶VILUVW
row  (next  page).
 7RORFDWHWKH9ocYDOXHIRU\RXUPRGXOHGLVFRQQHFWWKHUHVLVWRUIURPWKHWHVW
FLUFXLW FXUUHQWEHFRPHV]HUR 5HFRUGWKLVRSHQFLUFXLWYROWDJHYDOXH9 ocLQWKH
last  row  of  the  data  table.
 7RILQGWKHYDOXHRIWKHUHDGLQJVEHWZHHQ,sc  and  VocFDOFXODWHWKHYDOXHRIWKH
YROWDJHWKDWLVDSSUR[LPDWHO\RIWKH,sc  reading.    Increase  the  resistance  until
you  obtain  approximately  this  voltage  reading  on  your  multimeter.    Record  the
current  and  voltage  readings.
 ,QFUHDVHWKHUHVLVWDQFHWRDSSUR[LPDWHO\DQGWKHQRIWKHYROWDJHUHFRUGLQJ
the  current  and  voltage  readings  for  each  of  these  data  points.
 )URPWKLVSRLQWRQ RI9oc PDNHPXFKVPDOOHULQFUHDVHVLQWKHUHVLVWDQFH
each  time  so  that  you  will  have  enough  data  points  to  plot  the  I-­V  curve  accurately
+LQW:KHQWKHYROWDJHGURSVUDSLGO\WDNHVPDOOHULQFUHPHQWDOPHDVXUHPHQWV 
Continue  to  record  the  current  and  voltage  readings  (adding  more  lines  to  the  table
DVQHHGHG XQWLOWKHPD[LPXPUHVLVWDQFHVHWWLQJRU]HURFXUUHQWLVUHDFKHG
 5HFRUGWKHHQGLQJLUUDGLDQFHUHDGLQJDQGWKHHQGLQJWHPSHUDWXUHUHDGLQJ
 &DOFXODWHWKHSRZHUIRUWKHYDOXHVLQ\RXUWDEOH

## Irradiance  (W/m2) Cell  Temperature  (oC)

Initial  Measurement
Final  Measurement
Average

Florida Solar Energy Center Photovoltaic Power Output & IV Curves / Page 13
Voltage  (Volts) Current  (Amps) Power  (Watts)
0                Isc  =

Voc  =   0

 8VLQJWKHGDWD\RXFROOHFWHGRQJUDSKSDSHUSORWDSRZHUFXUYHZKLFKVKRZVSRZHUDVD
function  of  voltage.    Label  both  axis.    Then  plot  your  I-­V  curve  on  graph  paper.    Label
both  axis.    Title  your  graphs  to  include  your  average  irradiance  and  temperature  readings.
7\SLFDOJUDSKVIRUD9SDQHODUHLOOXVWUDWHGEHORZ

## Power  curve      I-­V  curve

/DEHOWKHPD[LPXPSRZHUSRLQWWKHSRLQWRQWKH,9FXUYHZKHUHWKHSRZHU WKHSURGXFW
RIFXUUHQWDQGYROWDJH LVWKHKLJKHVW\$QHDV\ZD\WRILQGWKHPD[LPXPSRZHUSRLQWLV
to  first  locate  the  Vmp  (maximum  power  point)  on  the  power  curve.    This  will  be  the  x-­
axis  value  of  the  maximum  power  point  on  your  I-­V  curve.

Florida Solar Energy Center Photovoltaic Power Output & IV Curves / Page 14
 'HWHUPLQHWKHSRZHUYROWDJHDQGFXUUHQWDWWKHPD[LPXPSRZHUSRLQW

## Pmp  =                                                                  Vmp  =                                                                Imp  =

 \$QDO\]H\RXUUHVXOWV+RZGLG\RXU,9FXUYHFRPSDUHWRWKHPRGXOH¶V,9FXUYH
VXSSOLHGE\WKHPDQXIDFWXUHU",I\RXGRQ¶WKDYHDQ,9FXUYHIRU\RXUPRGXOHKRZGLG
your  I-­V  curve  compare  to  the  Isc9oc,sc9mp  and  Pmp  of  your  module’s  specifications
XVXDOO\ORFDWHGRQWKHEDFNRIWKHSDQHO "

 :KDWGR\RXWKLQNFRXOGKDYHDFFRXQWHGIRUWKLVGLIIHUHQFH"

 +RZFRXOG\RXLPSURYHWKHUHOLDELOLW\RIWKLVH[SHULPHQW"

Efficiency
2QHFRPPRQPHDVXUHRIWKHTXDOLW\RIDVRODUFHOORUPRGXOHLVLWVHIILFLHQF\,QJHQHUDO
efficiency  is  defined  as  the  ratio  of  output  from  a  device  compared  to  the  input  to  the  device.
+RZHYHUWZRGLIIHUHQWHIILFLHQFLHVDUHRIWHQTXRWHGLQSKRWRYROWDLFOLWHUDWXUHTotal  area
efficiency  is  the  ratio  of  maximum  electrical  power  output  compared  to  the  total  solar  energy
incident  on  the  entireFHOORUPRGXOH DUHD[LUUDGLDQFH ZKHUHDVaperture  or  active  area
efficiency  usually  refers  to  a  single  cell  and  only  includes  the  active  semiconductor  area  of  the
FHOO/LJKWLQFLGHQWRQVKDGHGDUHDVOLNHLQWHUFRQQHFWZLUHVJULGOLQHVDQGIUDPHDUHDDUHQRW
LQFOXGHG2EYLRXVO\IRUDGHYLFHZLWKLQWHUFRQQHFWHGFHOOVWKHDFWLYHDUHDHIILFLHQF\LVKLJKHU
than  the  total  area  efficiency.

11. Calculate  the  total  area  efficiency  for  your  module  for  the  specific  trial  above:
 0HDVXUHWKHSHULPHWHURI\RXUPRGXOH&DOFXODWHWKHDUHDLQVTXDUHPHWHUV
 &DOFXODWHWKHHIILFLHQF\RI\RXUPRGXOHXVLQJWKHIRUPXOD
efficiency          =            Pmp  (maximum  power  point)

area          x          average  irradience

Florida Solar Energy Center Photovoltaic Power Output & IV Curves / Page 15
(IILFLHQF\RIPRGXOH 

 \$QDO\]H\RXUUHVXOWV+RZGLG\RXUHIILFLHQF\FRPSDUHWRWKHPRGXOH¶VUDWHGHIILFLHQF\"

 :KDWFRQGLWLRQVZRXOGLQFUHDVHWKHREVHUYHGHIILFLHQF\RIWKHPRGXOH"

 :KDWDUHWKHEHQHILWVRINQRZLQJWKHHIILFLHQF\RI\RXUVRODUSDQHORUPRGXOH"

 :KDWGR\RXWKLQNKDSSHQVWRWKHVRODUHQHUJ\WKDWLVQRWGLUHFWO\FRQYHUWHGWRHOHFWULFLW\"
5HPHPEHUDFFRUGLQJWRWKHODZRIFRQVHUYDWLRQRIHQHUJ\DOORIWKHHQHUJ\FDQEH
accounted  for).    List  all  the  possible  ways  that  energy  could  be  lost  or  never  utilized  in
this  energy  transfer.

Florida Solar Energy Center Photovoltaic Power Output & IV Curves / Page 16
Understanding Solar Energy Key Word Crossword

## Photovoltaic  Power Output & I-V Curves

1 2 3

9 10

11

12 13

14

15

Clues
8VHWKHFOXHVEHORZWRILOOLQWKHER[HVDERYH\$IWHUHDFKGHILQLWLRQWKHSRVLWLRQRIWKHDQVZHU
ZRUGVLVLQGLFDWHGDFOXHRI  ZRXOGEHDWHUPRIWZRZRUGVWKHILUVWRQHSODFHGDWSRVLWLRQ
and  the  second  word  placed  at  position  6.
 \$PHDVXUHRIWKHVXQOLJKW¶VSRZHUGHQVLW\ 
 :KHQ]HURFXUUHQWLVIORZLQJDQGWKHPD[LPXPYROWDJHLVSURGXFHGIURPDGHYLFH 
9  down)
 7KHPD[LPXPFXUUHQWSURGXFHGE\DGHYLFHFRUUHVSRQGLQJWR]HURYROWDJH 

Florida Solar Energy Center Photovoltaic Power Output & IV Curves / Page 17
 \$QLQVWUXPHQWXVHGWRPHDVXUHDQHOHFWULFDOV\VWHP¶VFXUUHQWUHVLVWDQFHDQGYROWDJH
RXWSXW 
 7KHWLPHRIGD\ZKHQWKH6XQLVDWLWVKLJKHVWSRLQWLQWKHVN\ 
 \$GHYLFHXVHGWRPHDVXUHWKHDPRXQWRIVRODULUUDGLHQFH 
 \$GHYLFHWKDWSURYLGHVDYDULDEOHDPRXQWRIUHVLVWDQFHLQDFLUFXLW DFURVV
 7KHYROWDJHYDOXHRIDGHYLFHDWLWVPD[LPXPSRZHUSRLQW DFURVVGRZQ
 \$QXPEHURISKRWRYROWDLFFHOOVHOHFWULFDOO\ZLUHGLQDVHDOHGXQLWIRUXVHLQDUUD\V 
 7KHSRLQWZKHUHWKHSURGXFWRIFXUUHQWDQGYROWDJHLVDWDPD[LPXPSRZHU 
DFURVVGRZQ

Florida Solar Energy Center Photovoltaic Power Output & IV Curves / Page 18
Understanding Solar Energy Problems

## Photovoltaic  Power Output & I-V Curves

 1DPHDGHYLFHWKDWLVXVHGWRPHDVXUHVRODULUUDGLDQFH

 \$SKRWRYROWDLFDUUD\SURGXFHVYROWVDQGDPSV:KDWLVLWVSRZHURXWSXWLQZDWWV"

 \$SKRWRYROWDLFSDQHOSURGXFHVZDWWVDWYROWV:KDWLVLWVFXUUHQW DPSHUDJH
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a. voltage  at  open  circuit
b. current  at  open  circuit
c. voltage  at  short  circuit
d. current  at  short  circuit

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Florida Solar Energy Center Photovoltaic Power Output & IV Curves / Page 19