Top 7 Solar Panels Science Projects For Beginners

In this short article, we’ll go over the top seven easy solar panel science projects for beginners and those inexperienced with solar power.

We’ll also discuss each project’s “wow!” factor while going over the materials needed for the projects. Let’s jump into it!

Mini Solar Car

Materials needed: popsicle sticks, bottle caps, a small motor, a small solar panel, hot glue gun, soldering iron, a small belt or rubber band, and small, wooden skewers.

This project involves a small solar panel connected to a motor that spins an axle with two wheels. This project will teach you how much solar power and sunlight it takes for something with weight to start moving. Because the project can be tested and measured with the trial-and-error strategy, the mini solar car can be scaled and improved using better, more efficient material.

Solar-Powered Electric Fan

Materials needed:

  • A small fan motor
  • A small motor
  • Soldering iron
  • A switch
  • A small solar panel
  • A styrofoam base
  • A wooden cylinder for the fan

This project simply connects a fan rotor to a small motor connected to a switch and a small solar panel. After the switch is flipped, the fan should start spinning and provide cool air with enough sunlight. The project’s scope relies entirely on how much power actually comes through a solar panel and how fast that power causes the fan to spin—calculable using a math formula for fan power.

Solar Water Heater

Materials needed:

  • Some water
  • Styrofoam or wooden base
  • PVC piping
  • Black pipe or black spray paint.

The solar water heater consists of using black piping or spray-painted piping to transport water while under sunlight. As sunlight hits the black piping, it will heat the water that runs through it. For this project to work more efficiently, you will want black piping to be as long as it can be from the inlet to the outlet for maximum time spent inside the black piping.

This project teaches how sunlight is absorbed more by black piping. You can quantify the project by measuring the in-and-out temperature of the water and comparing it to either the volumetric flow of the water or the length of the piping.

Mini Solar Model of a House

Materials needed:

  • Paper-mache crafting material
  • Tiny LED lights
  • A small solar panel
  • Soldering iron
  • Anything else needed to make the model look pretty.

This project consists of building a miniature model of a house with LED lights inside and outside. After making the model, connect the LED lights to a small solar panel on the house’s roof. The exposure to sunlight will light up the area, and you can even add a light switch to turn the lights on and off.

The project’s scope should talk about how residents can use solar power to be connected to a battery instead of LED lights—connect the battery to the LED lights. At night, the residents can use the stored battery to light up their house, saving huge electricity bills.

Mini DIY Solar Oven

Materials needed:

  • A cardboard box
  • Aluminum foil
  • A glass dome
  • wooden sticks.

The mini DIY solar oven will act as a smaller version of a normal-sized solar cooker used for cooking food. By covering the inside of the cardboard box with aluminum foil, you can make a 45° lid wrapped in aluminum foil and hold up by wooden sticks.

After placing whatever you’d like in the cardboard box, cover it with the glass dome—the sunlight will bounce off the lid and into the glass dome, where it will heat the food inside the dome.

You can actually measure the temperature inside the dome by having a meat thermometer inside the dome while it’s exposed to sunlight. CAUTION: The solar oven will most likely not cook meat, but you can impress your school or friends by melting marshmallows and chocolate on graham crackers inside the glass dome for a yummy treat for everyone!

Mini Solar Drip Irrigation Model

Materials needed:

  • Farm-building paper-mache material
  • A small solar panel
  • Soldering iron
  • Thin piping
  • Dirt
  • A plastic cup
  • Some Water
  • A small water pump
  • A switch.

While the project seems complicated, it’s actually simple. The solar drip irrigation model connects a small solar panel to a switch connected to a water pump. The water pump will control the water flow inside of the plastic cup. The plastic cup will have piping that runs from the cup to the dirt or the makeshift crops.

As you guessed, when the switch is flipped, the water pump will push the water through the cup and the piping onto the crops and into the dirt for watering. The project’s scope teaches how a more extensive version can be applied universally to many locations where farming is common.

Solar Phone Charger

Materials needed:

  • Altoids box
  • A small solar panel
  • Wiring
  • A phone charger
  • Hot glue gun
  • Soldering iron

This project simply consists of a small solar panel glued to an Altoids box. The solar panel is connected to a phone charger with all of the wiring placed inside of the Altoids box—you can simply connect your phone to the phone charger, and with enough sunlight, your phone should start charging.

You can also amp up the charging by hooking up a portable phone charger to the solar panel placed inside the box. That way, you can have charging power ready to go when you’re not in the sunlight!

This project teaches about how convenient it is to have a solar-powered phone charger for when you’re hiking, camping, or away from access to electricity. With enough battery and power, you can power more than just a phone’s battery as well!

Ying Xu

Graduated from the University of Kansas with an Aerospace Engineering degree & served 4 years as an US Air Force officer. Experienced with basic survival skills, weapon system security,  technical disaster recovery, and system troubleshooting

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