A solar simulator is a device which emits light closely resembling the solar irradiance received on Earth. Its light output is carefully calibrated against a reference spectrum to ensure maximum spectral match. One of their main uses is in conjunction with a current-voltage measurement system for characterizing solar cells. You can also use solar simulators to study photobiological systems, material exposure to sunlight, and many other applications. No matter what you are using a solar simulator for, it is extremely important that your solar simulator has a consistent output and radiates uniformly over a well-defined area.
We offer a low-cost, highly versatile solar simulator, that you can use either as a standalone system (with or without z-stage and breadboard) or with our I-V test systems to form a complete solar cell characterization system. When used with one of our substrate platforms, fabricating and testing solar cells is quick and easy.
Our solar simulator uses an LED solar simulator lamp, making it stable, reliable, and easy-to-use. Designed for small areas, the output is AAA rated over a 15mm diameter illuminance area and adheres to the latest solar simulator standards (IEC 60904-2020). By default, the solar simulator outputs 1 sun of illuminance (100 mW/cm2 or 1000 W/m2) over the wavelength range of 380 nm – 1000 nm but you can adjust the optical output power down to an illuminance of 10 mW/cm2 if needed. You can also individually control the output power of each of the 11 LED wavelengths.
Browse Solar Simulators
The Ossila Solar Simulator with height adjustable stage and optical breadboard. This is a versatile combination for a range of different experiments including working with existing solar cell designs. The adjustable z-stage allows you to precisely adjust the required working distance between the solar simulator and the optical breadboard.
LED Solar Simulator Lamp
Save money by getting the LED Solar Simulator lamp as a stand-alone unit with no z-stage or optical breadboard. Perfect for incorporating into your existing or custom system without having to purchase any unnecessary hardware. This is a fully featured solar simulator but lacks any height adjustment or IV characterization hardware.
Solar Cell Testing Kit
For characterizing solar cell devices, get the Ossila Solar Simulator with either the automated or manual I-V test system. The manual kit includes the solar with a source measure unit and manual test board while the automated features automated pixel switching and is supported by the Ossila Solar-Cell IV software for easy device characterization.
Solar Simulator Uses
Solar power is well utilized within nature, providing energy to all living things through photosynthesis. This solar power can also be utilized for man made purposes (such as in photovoltaics) and there are many materials that degrade under sunlight. There are many areas of research where it is vital to accurately characterize these light-dependent reactions.
Solar Cell Measurement
Solar simulators are most commonly used to characterize solar cells. The performance of solar cells will vary significantly depending on the intensity or spectral distribution of incident light. It is therefore very important to use a well-defined, calibrated light source for testing optoelectronic devices, especially during the research stage of development.
Natural sunlight varies significantly over days, weeks, and months, and it also varies geographically. Solar simulators allow you to compare measured device efficiencies, independent of where and when they are tested.
Additionally, solar cells in the early stages of development (such as perovskite solar cells or organic photovoltaics) may not be robust enough to withstand harsh outside conditions. New solar materials still need to be rigorously and reliably characterized before they are tested under "real life" conditions. Therefore, most situations require solar simulators to measure devices in controlled laboratory conditions.
You can also use a solar simulator to measure material stability under solar irradiance. There are plenty of materials which degrade under solar irradiation, especially after long periods of exposure. Most of these reactions occur in the presence of oxygen or moisture. For example, most organic chemicals can degrade when exposed to oxygen, but these reactions are often accelerated in the presence of light.
Photodegradation occurs due to photochemical reactions. Often in these photochemical reactions, the absorbance of a photon excites an electron within a molecule into an excited state. This excited molecule will then oxidise or reacts with moisture, causing it to decompose into another (sometimes unwanted) product.
Photodegradation often happens with organic materials, such as organic dyes, food and for some polymers (such as polystyrene). However, it can also occur within some inorganic materials, such as TiO2. When photodegradation occurs within a fluorophore, it is referred to as photobleaching.
Solar simulators can also be used to study the behaviour of natural organisms and plants under illumination. The most obvious example of a light-dependent reaction occurring in nature is photosynthesis, but there are other biological processes which depend on sunlight. An example is photomorphogenesis. Additionally, continuous illumination can have harmful effects on biological materials, such as sun damage to human skin.
Solar simulators can be extremely helpful in understanding exactly what happens in these biological processes. One benefit of using artificial sunlight for these purposes is that you can test materials under various light intensities or wavelength ranges. This can help you to evaluate the exact energy levels and reactions which happen when these processes occur.
Related Measurement Equipment
Source Measure Unit
Pair your solar simulator with an Ossila Source Measure Unit for a highly configurable set up for characterizing small area solar cells. Available to buy separately, but if you do not already have a solar simulator, we recommend the solar cell testing kit; the manual pixel switching version includes both a source measure unit and your choice of test board.
Solar Cell I-V Test System
Included with the solar cell testing kit, the Ossila Solar Cell I-V Test System is available in two configurations. The manual system uses a source measure unit and a test board, while the automated system can automatically switch pixels to streamline the characterization process for those using our substrate systems.
Compatible Substrates and Fabrication Equipment