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Question on powering a solar cell display with artificial light

  1. Sep 11, 2014 #1
    Hey folks,

    Sorry if this is a boring topic or if it's posted in not the best subject but here goes.

    I'm working on a solar-power related project and will have a display set up indoors.

    The cells are rated at up to 10V and 150mA.

    Under ambient artificial light we can get the voltage up to spec pretty easily but the current is way low, like 2ish mA.

    With a really heavy duty bulb (500W) we can get it to like 40 mA.

    But for the purpose of the display it would be really great if we could get it to the full 150mA.

    This of course is easily done under sunlight but our display will be indoors.

    Anyways, just seeing if anyone had any ideas of getting the full current from a solar cell under artificial light without hooking up cells in parallel.

    Another important note is that at our display we will only be afforded 5 Amps at 120VAC.


  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 12, 2014 #2
    In the sunlight you are looking at 800-1000 W/m^2 on a typical clear day.
    5 amps at 120vac is ~600W.
    cell output power is 10V*.15A=1.5W
    Assuming your cell has surface area < .5 m2, 600W should be enough to make the 1.5W

    My suggestion is to look at how the efficiency of your cell depends on wavelength. If you are using flourescent bulbs, they dump a lot of power into narrow wavelength bands, which might match poorly with your cell. Try using incandescents, because they are blackbodies they dump alot of power spread out across a large wavelength range, much like the solar spectrum.

    You can look into some different gases for flourescents, and select the best matching one. Also, make as much light as possible shining on the cell from your lamp (use mirrors etc). this will maximize the irradiance and increase your output.
  4. Sep 16, 2014 #3
    If you're using a 600 watt bulb to do a 1 1/2 square foot area, isn't the power output from the solar array kind of moot?
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