Solar Energy - Science Fair Log

October 5, 2015  

Worked on research paper, found five reliable sources. To access those sources the researcher can go to the following web sites:






October 8, 2015   Made eight total index cards about Solar Panels and how they work from source number one. ( )
October 14, 2015   Completed a total of fifty index cards made for research paper.
October 20, 2015   Made Working Outline for research paper.
October 29, 2015  

The hypothesis was constructed:

It is hypothesized that the amount of energy collected by a solar panel will increase when the solar array is arranged similar to leaves on a tree rather than a flat surface or an angled roof of a house.

To test the hypothesis, a miniature replica of a house with a flat roof and solar panels will be constructed. Along with that, a replica of a house with an angled roof and a miniature tree configuration will also be made. All three replicas will have the same size and amount of solar panels and be measured at the same time of each day.

Two separate experiments will be conducted to test hypothesis. To measure the amount of energy collected, a tool called a multimeter will be used. The data showing amount of energy will be collected three times a day, once at 8:00am, once at 12:00 pm, and once at 4:00 pm.

November 6, 2015   Began developing the research paper. Took notes to research more on Nuclear Fusion.
November 12, 2015   Submitted paper containing the topic, hypothesis, and the variables for the science fair topic.
November 15, 2015  

Packages containing materials needed for the experiment with solar panels and a multimeter has arrived. Continued to work on research paper.

Cited all sources including new sources

           "Alessandro Volta." Famous Scientists. 28 Jul. 2014.

 10 November 2015.

            Dhar, Michael. “How Solar Panels Work.” Live Science. Parch. 2015. 5 October 2015.

           “Electron.” 2015. 5 October 2015.   

           “How Do Solar Panels Work?” Mosaic. Mosaic. 2015. 5 October 2015.
           Morse, Elizabeth and Andrew Turgeon. “Solar Energy.” National Geographic. National Geographic. 1996-2015. 5 October 2015.

            “Nuclear Fusion.” Cora.Nra. Cora.Nra. 2015. 10 November 2015.

           “Photon.” 2015. 5 October 2015.

            “Quiz: Test Your Solar IQ.” U.S. Department Of Energy. 2015. 5 October 2015.

           “Solar Panel.” 2015. 5 October 2015.

            “Solar Panel Brief History and Overview.” Energy Matters. 2015-2016. 10 November 2015.

            “Types of Solar Panels.” Pure Energies. NRG Home Solar. 2014. 10 November 2015.

November 18, 2015   Completed 1st draft of research paper.
November 30, 2015   Completed second draft of research paper.
December 10, 2015   Purchased the following items to construct the three models:
  • Three birdhouses, 7½ inches x 7¼ inches x 5½ inches
  • One 32cm x 15cm flat board
  • One 14cm x 13cm flat board
  • One 14cm x 10cm flat board
  • wood glue
December 15, 2015   Sawed off the top of one of the bird houses and sanded down edges. The house is now ready for a flat piece of wood to be glued to the top. This will form a flat roof.
December 16, 2015  

Used wood glue to glue two bird houses together to form the replica of the house with the angled roof.

Glued a flat piece of wood to the top of the other sanded house to form the house with the flat roof.

December 17, 2015   Went outside and found a fallen branch for tree configuration. Approximate size 35 cm.
December 18, 25015   Glued 14cm x 13cm flat board and 14cm x 10cm flat board together to form base for tree configuration. Drilled a hole in the center of the base, and glued branch in the hole of the wooden base boards.
December 19, 2015   Tested each of the 18 individual solar panels in the sunlight using the multimeter to ensure the solar panels were working properly.
December 20, 2015   Attached six solar panels to each configuration:
  • Attached six solar panels to house with slant roof using two sided tape by attaching 3 solar panels on each side of roof.
  • Attached six solar panels to flat roof using two sided tape by attaching solar panels in two rows of three
  • Attached six solar panels to tree branch by removing leaves from branch and placing solar panel in same position as leaf.  Attached panels by placing the branch stem through the pre-drilled nail hole in the corner of each solar panel.
December 21, 2015   Researched how to wire solar panels. One option is to wire them is in series. This means to connect all the wires positive to negative. Hooking up solar panels in series increases the voltage.

Another option is to wire a solar panel is in parallel. This means to connect all the wires positive to positive and negative to negative to increase the amperage. Decided to connect panels in parallel.

December 22, 2015   Connected solar panels in parallel by connecting all the positive wires together and all the negative wires together.
December 31, 2015   Tested each of the solar panel configurations to ensure they were functioning properly. The test was successful. Experiment will begin tomorrow and last for 12 days.
January 1, 2016   Set up Excel Spreadsheet with columns for recording Date, Time, Amps, Volts, Weather Conditions, Temperature for each trial.
January 2, 2016   Began testing of Daily Output. Placed models with the three different solar configurations in sunlight on table and marked location of each model on the table with duct tape to ensure the same location for all trials. Used multimeter to determine Amps and Volts of each configuration and recorded in spreadsheet. Recorded Amps and Volts for each configuration at 8am, 12pm, and 4pm. Results showed that the tree configuration had the highest energy output in both volts and amps.
January 3, 2016   Continued experiment in same manner as before, testing at 8am, 12pm, and 4pm. Received similar results as previous day.
January 4, 2016   Discovered a mistake in the results of data from January 2-3, 2015 trials after doing additional research on circuits. The Amps and Volts were measured in open and short circuit during the previous trials. When measuring the Volts in this manner, the Amps are zero. When measuring the Amps in this manner, the Volts are zero. Since Watts= Amps * Volts, the average power recorded from the solar panels was inaccurate. In order to get an accurate measurement, a load must be added and the amps and power measured in a circuit. A load is anything that draws power. One example of a load is a light bulb.
January 5, 2016  

Researched the use of breadboard and measuring amps and volts using breadboard. Discovered Amps must be measured in series as part of circuit. Volts should be measured from outside circuit.

Amps are the measure of electrical charge passing through a given point in a circuit. The flow of electrons moving through a wire is similar to water moving through a pipe and therefore measures the rate of flow. As a result the multimeter must be part of the circuit when measuring amps.

Volts is the potential for energy movement, similar to the pressure of water. Therefore, volts must be measured from outside the circuit.

Sources for research:
Video: Measuring Current using a Multimeter for Beginners in Electronics.


Purchased materials including a bread board, wires, and a 5mm white led to create circuit with a load. Improved experiment will begin tomorrow.

January 6, 2016   Started experiment to test Average Daily Output. Measured Amps and Volts of the configurations three times today at 8am, 12pm, and 5pm. Used the following procedures to conduct trial:
  • Placed models on outside table and marked location of configurations using duct tape
  • Created circuit using led and breadboard by first connecting the power cables from one of the solar configuration to the power strip on breadboard. 
  • Used jumper wire to connect positive power row on breadboard to middle row of breadboard.
  • Inserted led into breadboard with one end of led into negative power strip on breadboard and one end into the middle row next to jumper wire.   
  • Measured and recorded Volts of one configuration by connecting multimeter outside of the circuit by connecting common probe of multimeter (black) to negative power strip on breadboard, and connecting positive probe (red) middle row of the breadboard next to led and jumper wire.
  • Recorded Volt data on excel spreadsheet
  • Measured and recorded mAmps of one configuration by connecting multimeter and making it part of the circuit. 
  • Disconnected jumper wire and turn off multi-meter.
  • Moved multimeter positive probe (red) to positive on power strip and common probe (black) next to led on in middle row of breadboard.
  • Set Multimeter to mAmps and measured power across led. 
  • Recorded data on excel spreadsheet
  • Recorded other conditions such as weather and temperature

During all three trials the tree configuration had the highest results.

January 7, 2016   Continued experiment in same manner as before. Received similar results as previous day.
January 8, 2016   Experiment could not be continued due to rain throughout entire day.
January 9, 2016   Due to weather conditions, tested solar panels at 8am and 12pm only. Weather conditions were cloudy for the 8am and 12 pm trial. In the morning, the Tree had the highest results. At 12pm the Flat Roof did.
January 12, 2016   Due to weather conditions, tested solar panels at 8am and 12pm only. The tree had the best results again.
January 14, 2016   Conducted a second experiment to test the Maximum Output for three separate trials using the following procedures:
  • Placed the three models outside on table in area with maximum sun.
  • Connected the power cables of one configuration to breadboard power strip.
  • Recorded Volts of configuration which is called open circuit by connecting common probe (black) to negative strip on breadboard and positive probe (red) to positive power strip on breadboard.  
  • Set multimeter to Volts and recorded data
  • Recorded mAmps of configuration in short circuit by connecting common probe (black) to negative strip on breadboard and positive probe (red) to positive power strip on breadboard. 
  • Set multimeter to mAmps and recorded data.  
  • Positioned resistor with one ohm onto the breadboard with one end in the negative side of the power strip and one end on the positive.
  • Attached multimeter common probe (black) to negative power strip and positive probe (red) to the positive.
  • Set multimeter to measure Volts across resister and recorded data.
  • Moved resistor with one end to the positive side of power strip and one end to middle of breadboard.
  • Placed common probe (black) in the negative side of power strip and negative probe (red) next to resister in the middle of breadboard.
  • Set multimeter to mAmps measured current and recorded data.
  • Repeated steps 7 and 8 with each resistor.

Conducted experiment during lunchtime at 12:00 PM and then again at 4:00 PM. Each experiment took roughly an hour to conduct.

January 16, 2016   Repeated Maximum Output experiment at 12:00 PM as noted above using the same procedures as on January 14, 2016.
January 18, 2016   Created scatter chart in Excel from data from Maximum Output experiment to find the Maximum Output. The maximum output is identified on the chart at the location where the line elbows or bends.
January 19, 2016   Typed title page for paper.
January 22, 2016   Typed "Introduction to the Experiment" for paper.
January 23, 2016   Began typing the materials list and procedures.
January 28, 2016   Typed "Table on Contents" and "Abstract" pages for paper. Combined all typed pages into one word document.
January 29, 2016   Filled out judging sheet. Learned floor space is 13.
January 31, 2016   Purchased board and large letters for title. Positioned title on board.
February 1, 2016   Typed information about the variables and the "conclusion" page for the paper.
February 2, 2016   Made charts for Daily Output Experiment and graphs for the first trial for Maximum Output.
February 3, 2016   Continued working on "Materials" and "Procedures" pages for the paper. Made graphs for second and third trial for Maximum Experement. copied charts into "Data Analysis" page for paper.
February 4, 2016   Made finishing touches to paper. Printed and attached components to board.



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