PCM Wk 8: Final Project Proposal

Idea: Solar Energy Learning Table

I aim to create an interactive learning table and display that helps myself and others better understand how solar panels work and how energy is converted into electricity.


1.) Learn about the science of solar cells: how light is turned into electrical energy through the use of semiconductors.

2.) Show that solar energy is sustainable and green.

3.) Create a hands-on instructional display to show the effect of light intensity on power generation of solar cells by altering the intensity of light through (polarizing/ neutral density/ color) filters and rotation of light.

Description of rough idea:

On the right side of the display is an interactive that that has a white LED light source at the top. The LED light will shine on the Neutral Density Filter (NDF), which will then shine on the solar panel. These filters reduce the amount of light passing through without changing the color. Depending on the transmittance of the NDF, the amount of light that passes through will differ; this will effect the amount of current generated by the solar cell. We will measure the current using analog read. This sensor reading will effect the diagram drawn on p5.js sketch that is running on a website. The p5.js sketch will show that when there is more light shining on the solar panel, a  larger number of charge carriers is generated and flowing through the circuit.

Bonus feature: After a certain number of seconds, the screen will change to reveal how much energy is generated in that time span when using the specific filter chosen by the user. For example, the screen may say: ” Using this solar panel, you have generated enough energy to power a lightbulb/ cell phone.”

Still trying to work out this bonus feature. Perhaps the timer is counted when the LED light switch is turned on.

Sketches + Diagrams:

a.) Rough sketch of the display’s form with short descriptions of each component (all is subject to change)

pcomp final sketch of display

b.) Sketch of each component with more detailed descriptions

sketch of each component and its function

c.) Diagram of how a solar cell absorbs light and converts it into energy.


d.) Solar panel will be my light intensity sensor.

solar panel

Resources + References: