Year 11 & 12 science in practice - Power requirements of a solar charging system

Lesson Overview

Year 11 & 12 science in practice - Power requirements of a solar charging system

This series of research activities explores the use of solar panels to charge and operate LED lights in the context of providing sustainable energy. Students are guided to measure input and output power of a solar charging system that can be used during sunlight hours as well as in dark conditions. The solar charger uses modern technologies including supercapacitors as an energy storage device. Students research the performance of the system to provide a sustainable supply of electrical energy for lighting multiple LEDs.

The design and construction of the solar charger is described in detail and it is recommended that this be prepared in advance of distribution to students. Soldering is required to ensure the integrity of the components in the system.

Assessment is left for the school to develop but there are opportunities for research and investigation instruments.

Key Concepts

  • Current, potential difference and energy flow

Queensland Curriculum Mapping

Science in Practice (QCAA -2015)

Solutions to humanity's energy and resource challenges are likely to come from the application of science and technology. Students should develop an awareness of the consequences of using resources by considering their short- term and long-term impacts as well as their sustainability.


  • Research whether solar photovoltaic systems are the most efficient renewable energy source for Australian houses. (Chemistry/Physics)


  • Investigate the role that non-renewable and/or renewable energy plays in developing economies (Earth and Environmental Science/Physics)
  • Explore the development of a specific technology