Making I-V and C-V Measurements on Solor/Photovoltaic Cells

Because of the increasing demand for energy and the limited supply of fossil fuels, the search for alternative sources of power is imperative. Given that there is a vast amount of energy available
from the sun, devices that convert light energy into electrical energy are becoming increasingly important. Solar or photovoltaic (PV) cells convert light energy into useful electrical power. These cells are produced from light-absorbing materials. When the cell is illuminated, optically generated carriers produce
an electric current when the cell is connected to a load.

A variety of measurements are made to determine the electrical characteristics of PV cells. Characterizing the cells often involves measuring the current and capacitance as a function of an applied DC voltage. The measurements are usually done at different light intensities and temperature conditions. Important device parameters can be extracted from the current voltage (I-V) and capacitance-voltage (C-V) measurements, such as the conversion efficiency and the maximum power output. Electrical characterization is also important to determine losses in the PV cell.



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