Understanding the Impact of Environmental Factors on Energy Generated from a Photovoltaic Solar Panel

Student: Shrey Khetan
Table: 125
Experimentation location: Home
Regulated Research (Form 1c): No
Project continuation (Form 7): No

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A study was conductedto understand the impact of changing azimuth, tilt, temperatureand shade on current and voltage generated from a Photovoltaic solar panel. A significantimpact wasseen uponvarying the azimuth and tilt angle away from an ideal azimuth and tilt angle.The worst measured azimuth and tilt anglecurrent was almost50% less than the current at the ideal azimuth and tilt angle. Impact of varying temperature on the current generated was alsostudied. For the same light input, increase in temperature led to reduction in current generated. Shade on the panel also significantly reduced current generated. In conclusion, a solar panel generates the most energywhen it is directly facing the sun at an approximately perpendicular angle, withlower temperatures and no shade on the panel. An arduino based solar tracker model has been made to show how solar panels can be made toefficiently track the sun throughout the day.


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Research Plan:


  • Solar panels are being increasingly used to generate renewable energy. There are environmental factors that can influence the amount of energy generated. It will be valuable for homeowners and other solar panel users to find the ideal way to maximize energy generated.


  • What is the impact of the sun's position or of a fixed light source angle of incidence on the amount of energy generated (current and voltage) by a mini photovoltaic panel?
  • What is the impact of temperature and shade on the panel to energy generated by the panel? 


  • I will be using the cell phone compass to determine the Azimuth (the angle from the true north).
  • I will using a protractor to determine the tilt angle to horizontal.
  • I will be using a multimeter to measure DC current and volts.
  • I will use 2 hair dryers and an ice pack to create a series of temperatures for the solar panel. I will also use a fixed torchlight, and measure the energy generated as a function of temperature. I will use a laser infrared thermometer to measure the surface temperature of the panel.

Risk and Safety:

  • I will be careful when using the multimeter, laser infrared thermometer, and the hair dryers.

Data analysis:

  • I will make line plot graphs to understand the relationship between the factors and the energy generated.
  • I will also make an Arduino based single-axis solar tracker model to display how anyone can maximize efficient solar energy harvesting.


  • Install your own solar panels: Designing and installing a photovoltaic system to power your home, Joseph Burdick and Philip Schimdt, Storey Publishing 2017.
  • “Movement of the Sun | Green Passive Solar Magazine.” Greenpassivesolar.Com, 2011, greenpassivesolar.com/passive-solar/scientific-principles/movement-of-the-sun/.
  • “PVWatts Calculator.” Pvwatts.Nrel.Gov, pvwatts.nrel.gov/.
  • “Charting The Sun’s Motion In Relation To Your Home And Permaculture Site.” The Permaculture Research Institute, 23 Oct. 2015, www.permaculturenews.org/2015/10/23/charting-the-suns-motion-in-relation-to-your-home-and-permaculture-site/.


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