Solar Energy Lesson

You will learn:

  • How solar energy is harvested from the sun
  • How to program the micro:bit to measure solar energy

You will need:

  • 1 micro:bit
  • 1 Seenov Solar Battery with solar panel
  • The sun
  • 2 aligator clips
  • 1 computer
  • 1 USB cable

Lesson duration: 15 minutes

How solar Energy Works

  1. The sun’s light rays hit the solar panel.
  2. The solar panel transforms the sun’s light into electricity to charge the lithium battery.
  3. The lithium battery powers the micro:bit.
micro:bit solar battery

What if?

What if there is too much sun?

The “Battery Charger” circuit turns off the electricity from the solar panel.

What if there is not enough sun?

The “Low battery Turn-Off” circuit turns off the “Voltage Regulator Circuit” and no more energy  flows out of the battery.

Connections:

  1. Connect the solar panel to the solar battery.
  2. Connect the solar battery to the micro:bit BATTERY connector.
  3. Connect P7 (Solar Voltage Monitor) on the solar battery to the micro:bit edge connector Pin 0 .
  4. Connect P3 (Charger ON-OFF) on the solar battery to the micro:bit edge connector Pin 1.
  5. Connect the USB cable from the micro:bit to the computer.

Activity:

Place the solar panel face down on any surface. Do not connect the USB port on the Solar Battery.  Run the program and observe the number of LEDs that light up. Slowly move the solar panel towards the sun and observe the change in the LEDs.  Rotate the solar panel right, left, up and down and find the orientation where the maximum number of LEDs are on. That is the best panel orientation where the maximum energy from the sun is converted to electricity.

micro:bit Solar Battery
micro:bit solar battery

Conclusion

Learning to control solar power with computers like the micro:bit opens up a new , plentiful and non polluting  energy source.