- December 2019
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- Solar simulators are a fundamental instrument to characterize solar cells parameters, as they can reproduce the operating conditions under which the solar cells are going to work. However, these systems are frequently big, heavy, and expensive, and a small solar simulator could be a good contribution to test small prototyping devices manufactured in research labs, especially if it could manage the irradiation at any wavelength interval in a custom way. We have designed, developed, and calibrated a small solar simulator made entirely with LEDs, no optics inside, and electronically controlled through a PC using an Arduino microcontroller. The whole structure is 3-D printed in black PLA plastic. The electrical current through the LEDs, and thus the spectral irradiance of the simulator, is controlled with a very intuitive LabVIEW interface. As our calibration proves, we have built an easily reproducible and low-cost Class AAA solar simulator in a central illumination area of 1 cm 2 , according to the IEC60904-9 standard. This means that the homogeneity in that area is under a 2% deviation in spatial terms, below 0.5% in temporal terms, and is a factor of a 3% close to the AM1.5G sun reference spectrum. The system can be built and used in any research lab to get quick tests of new small solar cells of any material.
- am15g; led technology; solar cells; solar simulator; ultralow cost