Electrical Energy and Solar Module Efficiency (Lesson 1)

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Brett McFarland
Intended Grade Level(s):
Subject Area(s) Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
4 hours
Learning Goal(s):

1. Students will document necessary terms in their journals
2. Students will be able to set up a multimeter to measure voltage
3. Students will be able to set up a multimeter to measure current
4. Students will be able to calculate power from data collected
5. Students should be able to measure the collector area of a solar module (area of solar cell(s) within
solar module) and represent this value in square meters (m^2)

Common Core Standard(s) Met:
Next Generation Science Standard(s) Met:

This lesson will let students do research to define terms that will be used in this unit. They will record this information in their Journals, which can be scientific or simple homemade notebooks. This lesson will also introduce the multimeter, small solar modules, and how to calculate power. Students will compare the power of the module to its area and create a power/area ratio. This ratio will then be used to check the efficiency of the module using a pyranometer (if available) to measure incoming irradiance from the sun (Power per area, or W/m2). Calculations and practices that students are guided through during this lesson will continue to remain themes throughout the remainder of the “Off the Grid Unit.” This lesson is suitable as a stand-alone lesson.

Science Kit Material(s) Used

3-Volt, 1A Solar Module
Vernier LabQuest 2
Vernier Pyranometer

Other Material(s) Used

Calculators, rulers, AA batteries, different technology pv cells, student journals