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Solar Panel testing

  1. May 30, 2006 #1
    I have an interesting question:

    Could we simulate the solar array operating
    under sunlight, by covering the solar panel with dark paper and using a
    constant current source to pass rated current INTO the solar panel (e.g.
    using a bench power supply on constant current mode with a DC link
    inductor if necessary). I will probably need a fan to cool the solar
    panel. I am not sure if this would damage the solar panel however.
    I could vary sunlight "intensity" by changing the value of the current
    passed into the solar panel.

  2. jcsd
  3. May 30, 2006 #2


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    That just doesn't sound right to me, but I'm not an expert in electricity by any means. As far as I know, though, a solar cell won't pass electricity from an outside source. That would be similar to expecting an LED to produce current when exposed to its emission frequency.
  4. May 30, 2006 #3


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    Actually, it will produce current. Not much, but it will.
  5. May 30, 2006 #4


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    :tongue: ..
  6. May 31, 2006 #5


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    What do you mean by "simulate"? What is it that you are trying to learn from this experiment? A solar panel is just a bunch of parallel connected photodiodes. The panel has datasheet characteristics like dark current, reverse saturation current, efficiency (light in to photocurrent out), capacitance, etc. Which characteristics are you interested in experimenting with?
  7. May 31, 2006 #6


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    Are you maybe thinking that solar panels work like Peltier Heaters/Coolers?
  8. Aug 17, 2011 #7
    I have done that and that worked. Actually it is called Dark I-V test. However I did not use for that purpose. I used to test my inverter under lab conditions without the sun. This does not damage the PV panel it even does not get hot. However you need a big power supply for that. Set the current exactly Isc from the data sheet of the PV module and set the voltage 10-20 percent higher than Voc.
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