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Building a tester for solar cell efficiency

  1. Sep 12, 2011 #1
    I am trying to have students build a tester with sourceMeter, lamp, etc. for solar cell efficiency measurement.

    Could someone give me advice on this project?

    Thank you very much.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 12, 2011 #2
    What class/grade level? Do you want a quick classroom demonstration, or a more detailed "lab quality" test?
  4. Sep 12, 2011 #3
    Yea this. Making a demonstration should be trivial. Are you asking for help thinking of experiments to perform?
  5. Sep 13, 2011 #4
    I am trying to setup a new solar cell undergraduate research lab. Here is my dilemma: I have a few thousand dollars of lab equipment capital and am trying to make a good decision now. To have students build an efficiency measurement unit for home-made dye-sensitized solar cell, they could learn a lot in electronics, but it would take quite long time and also the efficiency measured with home-built instrument may not be accurate at all. Is it a good investment for Keithley Model 2401 Low Voltage SourceMeter Instrument Price: $2,995.00 (very expensive to us), so students can focus on doing research more rather than building the tool? I don't have any experience in this new area. If you could make some suggestions, I highly appreciate it.
  6. Sep 13, 2011 #5


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    It really depends what is the goal of your teaching.
    If you are training technicians, who'll be in their job expected to perform efficient measurements with off-the-shelf apparata they are equipped with - buy the box, and focus on measurement methodology and data interpretation.
    If you are rather teaching them general approach to measurements, with some focus also on how to design and build their own equipement, and 'how the apparatus work' is more important than 'how to operate given tool' - then ask them to design and build their own tool at 10% of that price.
    I believe that reasonable (1%) accuracy tool to measure efficiency of solar cells is easy to build with a budget of $299.50 and skills not much beyond high-school.
  7. Sep 13, 2011 #6
    Ok, I will try to balance this. Thank you, xts, for making the picture clearer to me.
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