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Effect of Direction and Tilt Angle of Solar Cells on Power Generated

Abstract

The objective: As fuel prices go up, solar cells can be used as an alternative source of energy. My objective was to find out the best direction and tilt angle to place a set of solar cells to maximize the voltage.

Methods/Materials

I used a few solar cells connected in a series, a volt meter to measure the volts, a protractor to measure the angle, a compass to find the direction, and a wooden stand where the solar cell was placed. First I gathered all my materials. After that I placed my solar cell on a stand. I used a protractor to set the angle of the solar cell, and a compass to set the direction of the solar cell. After that I took the reading of my voltage meter at various angles and directions. I then repeated this procedure at different times of the day. Finally I collected the data and compared.

Results

My results were that the solar cell captured the most sunlight facing South at a 60° vertical angle at noon. The highest reading was 4.3 volts. The highest readings were mostly recorded in the south direction.

Conclusions/Discussion

The conclusion I reached was that the solar cell would capture the most sunlight if the solar cell was facing South and if it was at a vertical angle of 40° to 70° at 2:00 PM. The combination of a direction facing south and a tilt angle of 40° to 70° provides the best set-up for maximum power generated in the solar cell. According to some research, the tilt angle should be different during different times of the year. I took readings every hour from 11 AM to 4 PM for different tilt angles and sun directions. The directions used varied from South East 60° to South West 60°. I performed this experiment in December. At this time of the year, the sun is in the southern hemisphere. During the summer months, when the sun is in the northern hemisphere, I expect slightly different direction and tilt angle. I would also like to experiment on cloudy days. This experiment was done in San Francisco Bay Area at latitude of 37° N. I expect the different results if the experiment were performed in a different location such as Los Angeles or in Seattle.

This project was to find out the best direction and tilt angle to place a set of solar cells to maximize the voltage.

Science Fair Project done By Zaheer A. Mohiuddin