Section 400: Solar Cells – Renewable Energy from the Sun
Project: Design, build, and test a new product powered by solar energy
In this section of Engineering 100, students will learn about photovoltaics and apply their knowledge to design, build, and test a prototype of a new product powered by solar energy. Students will begin their team experience by building a solar-powered model car to race against other teams in the class. This will provide students with initial hands-on experience with solar cells and building a working device. Students will then conduct
more advanced laboratory experiments to measure and analyze energy conversion in polycrystalline silicon solar cells, charging and discharging of Ni-Hydride batteries, and conversion of electricity to light in high-brightness light emitting diodes. In the third phase, covering the second half of the semester, teams will propose a new product powered by solar energy. This will be the primary course project and will have an entrepreneurial feel, where teams will consider the economic, environmental, and societal impacts of the product they are proposing. Teams will design, build, and test a prototype of their proposed new product and present at an expo at the end of the semester.