Journal of Energy in Southern Africa
On-line version ISSN 2413-3051
Print version ISSN 1021-447X
MALUTA, Eric and SANKARAN, Vaithianathaswami. Outdoor testing of amorphous and crystalline silicon solar panels at Thohoyandou. J. energy South. Afr. [online]. 2011, vol.22, n.3, pp.16-22. ISSN 2413-3051.
The use of solar panels is becoming one of the options for some of the rural communities in Limpopo Province, South Africa, to get electrical energy for their radio and television sets as the national grid may not reach them in the near future. Hence, dissemination of knowledge of how to use the solar devices and their maintenance is crucial for these communities. This will be possible only if there is appropriate information available for the potential end-users, installers and extension workers. With this in mind, an attempt has been made to evaluate the performance of an amorphous and a crystalline solar panel at our experimental site. Outdoor tests were conducted to measure solar radiation, open-circuit voltage, short circuit current, current-voltage (I-V) curve, fill-factor and conversion efficiency and hence to compare the performance of the two types of panels. It was found that both types give a satisfactory performance for the climate of this region.
Keywords : Amorphous and crystalline silicon solar panels; solar radiation; peak power; I-V curve; conversion efficiency; standard testing condition.