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McNair Scholars Program

Hamed Funmilayo, M.S.


Education: Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering (December 2005)

Master of Science in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University

McNair Project: Solar Cell Characterization (2004)

Mentor: Anil Pahwa, Ph.D.

Affordable silicon solar cell array types manufactured for terrestrial applications are designed to produce about 18% to 20% efficiency. However, their efficiency decreases dramatically under varying loads. The difficulty of predicting solar cell efficiency is compounded by complex interaction of environmental factors such as high temperature, wind and humidity. Hence, solar arrays must be properly designed to suit the environment where they are to be used.

The efficiency of a photovoltaic cell can be obtained by determining its maximum current and voltage coordinate from the plot of its current against its voltage readings, under a set illumination. However, many environmental factors, such as temperature, humidity and wind, may tend to alter the overall output of these values, thereby affecting the value of the solar cell's efficiency.

This research presents a data analysis that focuses mostly on of the effects of temperature and humidity on the silicon solar cell's "No load voltage" and "Short circuit current". Both variables were measured at outdoors at different hours of the day for a period of ten to thirty consecutive days. Experiments were also conducted indoors to create a controlled environment for observing isolated effect of the temperature. A relationship between some of the atmospheric parameters and the measured values were deduced from the data obtained, thus providing more insight on the efficiency of the silicon solar cell under different weather conditions.