In the summer of 2011, a photovoltaic system was installed on our school property by the public utility company. The solar cell module was attached to a pole and could track the Sun. The energy generated is fed into the power grid via inverters. The data-output of the plant could be retrieved by colleagues on the Internet. The interpretation of the diagrams as well as the evaluation of the data by working with a table is exemplified over the period of a day. The example is also suitable as a practical introduction to integral calculus.
b. Scientific Background
The key physical point is the generation of electrical energy from solar energy, whereby the focus here is not on the processes in the solar cells, but on maximizing the energy yield. The solar module is designed in such a way that it can always be optimally aligned to the Sun's rays by rotating and tilting. Thus, one obtains an energy yield optimized by technology. The values thus provided by the system are evaluated using mathematical methods. This way of dealing with tabular data forms the mathematical core of the exercise.
c. Connection with Sustainability Development Goals
This is mainly about Goal 7, clean and affordable energy.