Solar Panels and Light
How does light affect the speed of a solar powered car?
Light is a source of energy for solar-powered cars. Solar panels
convert the incident light into electricity and this electricity drives
the motor that moves the car.
The brighter the incident light on the solar panel, the higher is the
electric power (power = energy per unit time) generated.
The speed of a car depends the construction of the car, the motor used,
transmisson/gearing used, and the available power to run the motor.
Everything else being equal, a doubling of the intensity of the incident
light will roughly double the electricity produced, and this will
increase the speed of a car, but by less than 100%, primarily because of
disproportional increase in air drag on the car.
Ali Khounsary, Ph.D.
Advanced Photon Source
Argonne National Laboratory
Luke: solar panels absorb light energy and the car turns it into usable
energy. The make of the panels will determine how much energy can be
stored, thus how fast the car can go. I suggest using the internet, with
the keyword 'solar panels' and see what you find. You may also try 'solar
Light carries energy. We can feel this energy as heat. Sunburn is an
example of what this energy can do when it builds up in one place. A
solar-powered car has "solar panels" that can convert the energy within the
sunlight into electrical energy. This electrical energy can then be used to
power an electric motor within a car. The sunlight is the fuel of a
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Update: June 2012