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Spotlight: Using Robots to Assess Photovoltaic Cells

Using Robots to Assess Photovoltaic Cells
Using Robots to Assess Photovoltaic Cells
Credit: NIST

How can we make photovoltaic cells (such as those used for solar panels) work more efficiently, even in diffuse or indirect light? That’s what a team of NIST engineers is trying to answer — with the help of a robot.

At the tip of the robot’s arm is a small photovoltaic cell. This time-lapse video shows the robot swinging its arm through a variety of angles, allowing the team to measure how altering the angle affects the cell’s electrical output. The robot can make highly precise adjustments of a tiny fraction of a degree, significantly reducing measurement uncertainty.

The team hopes to quantify how the output changes with scattered light or light from different angles, effects that still aren’t well understood. Shine on, NISTers!

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Released October 4, 2023, Updated October 17, 2023