Last friday I had the privilege to teach a group of honors level high school seniors about solar.  The opportunity came up through a customer of ours who teaches at ELCO and said that a fellow physics colleague of his wanted his kids to get an overview of solar.  ASI was able to donate a panel that we had around the shop for the students to keep and perhaps it is a stepping stone for a solar PV system on the school.

Basic diagram of how PV solar works

My challenge was where to begin and where to end knowing that there was so much to cover, but I was able to talk about the basic components, how they were put together and even how the panel actually makes power from the sun.  We also talked about how the rebates work in PA and why solar has been so popular here as opposed to other states without rebates.  Each and every student was 100% engaged and had excellent questions for me, especially since the class began at 7:45 am.  As a former educator, I was fully impressed!  I brought along the 230 w Mage solar panel and showed using a volt meter that it was actually making power in the classroom; they thought that was pretty cool.  Additionally, I showed them a micro inverter, roof mounting components and different size wires we use.  The teacher told me that likely half of that class would go on to become engineering majors in college; maybe there is such a thing as a solar power major?

With a little luck we can go to our customer’s house in a couple of weeks so they can actually see a working system.  Obviously the students seemed to think that such a field trip would need to take a day, but alas, they’re bound to a quick jaunt during their 1 hr, 15 min period.  Maybe I’ll try and get some donuts for them when they show up.  Hmm, note to self…write that down.  Regardless, it will be good for them to visualize all the components of the system I mentioned in the presentation.

If you want to see a copy of the presentation I used for the class, I’ve included it in the links to the right called: Solar 101 Class.  It may not make complete sense without the talking points, but you’ll get a general idea of what was shown. And yes, I would definitely do this again at another school