This week’s activity is going to investigate the effects of color and collection area on the amount of solar energy absorbed by a system. While this sounds like a very simple task, it is complicated by several factors that can seriously impact results. The biggest of these factors is that a solar collector will begin to lose energy via heat transfer as soon as its temperature increases above its surroundings. Any system that we place in sunlight will begin to conduct heat through its support, convect warm air from its surface, and re-radiate energy in the infrared to its surroundings. Therefore, if you are going to attempt to test the relative abilities of different solar collectors, you must account for the heat loss.