How To Test PV Solar Cells

Testing pv cells to make
sure they're working properly.

How to test solar pv sells to make sure they are producing power.

Procedure For Testing Solar Cells

To test solar cells, you will need to place your solar cells in direct sunlight and use a multi-meter that measures both Voltage and Amperage.


Testing For Volts

How to test pv solar cells with using a standard multi meter.To test solar cells for the volts reading, make sure the multi-meter is shut off. Plug the black (-) lead into the black port and the red (+) lead into the V (voltage) port.

Turn on multi-meter. Set the dial of the multi-meter to the volt position.

Put your solar cell down on a clean work area (preferably a block of wood) with the positive side facing up. (That's the side without the tabs attached - facing up).

  • Touch the multi-meter's black lead to the solar panel's negative contact (which is the tab wire coming from the underside of the solar cell. See diagram below).
  • Touch the red lead to the solar cell's positive contact (which is any contact point on the positive side of cell. See diagram below).

Testing solar cells for the volt output reading.

Your voltage reading for a 1.75 watt solar cell should be about 0.5 volts. If the reading is much less, than this solar cell is most likely defective and you should not use it in your solar panel. If you are testing solar cells that are bigger, than your readings should obviously be bigger.

Testing For Amps

To test solar cells for the amp reading, make sure the multi-meter is shut off. Plug the black (-) lead into the black port and the red (+) lead into the A (amps) port.

Turn on multi-meter. Set the dial of the multi-meter to the amps position.

Put the solar cell down on a clean work area (preferably a block of wood) with the positive side facing up. (That's the side without the tabs attached - facing up).

  • Touch the multi-meter's black lead to the solar panel's negative contact (which is the tab wire coming from the underside of the solar cell. See diagram below).
  • Touch the red lead to the solar cell's positive contact (which is any contact point on the positive side of cell. See diagram below).

Testing PV cells for the amps output reading.

Your amperage reading for a 1.75 watt solar cell should be about 3.5 amps. If the reading is much less, than this solar cell is most likely defective and you should not use it in your solar panel.

So if you are using the same solar cells as we do in our examples, your volt, amp and watt readings should be just under: 0.5 volts, 3.5 amps and 1.75 watts.

Great, this solar cell is working correctly and can be used in our solar panel. After you have tested each of your solar cells like this, you can proceed to building your own solar panel.

Click here to go back to the Make Solar Panels section in the exact spot you left off (or just click your browsers back button).


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