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SEPCO's blog on all things renewable and green

Photovoltaic Discoveries Around the Home with Children

Posted by SEPCO

4/16/13 9:30 AM

Renewable Energy with KidsSolar power is one of the cleanest and most reliably abundant sources of power we have encountered as a species. Wind may be clean as well, but it requires air currents. If we ever run out of solar power, we'll have bigger problems than power to worry about. Although the Sun is a great source for this power, did you know that other items around the home generate photovoltaic power as well? Armed with a solar cell and a typical current tester, you and your children can discover a world of wasted energy.

1. From the Sun - The most obvious form of solar power comes from our Sun. Although we are keen to use the collection of power produced by our star our faults lie within an affordable method to harness that power for use throughout our daily and nightly lifestyles. However, it is curious that we have been able to condense the power of a computer system from the size of a building to a device that fits in the palm of your hand but we can't make a viable form of power storage? My oldest child once commented on how much power from the sun is wasted every day as it shines on buildings, roads, fields, and more.

2. Florescent Bulbs - We discovered this photovoltaic discovery by accident. As we had quite a few solar recharging units for cell phones laying around the office, I noticed that even the unused brand new units where showing their power lights illuminated. As there were no windows or openings leading to the outside for these units to charge, my children and I began testing the chargers by allowing them to empty themselves into a phone and charging them in the office using the florescent bulbs in the ceiling. The closer we moved the solar unit to the bulb, the brighter the charging light became. While it took a great deal of time to charge one of the units to be able to supply a single bar of power in a phone, we were still able to do it without the use of solar exposure.

3. CFL Bulbs - As a spinoff from the above experiment my children helped me accomplish, we decided to test the compact fluorescent light bulbs that we had in our lighting fixtures at home. My oldest son had the idea of tearing apart one of the many solar chargers we have and connecting the voltmeter to it and see how much power the CFL produced. The excitement in his voice and the sparkle in his eyes were worth the experience alone as he discovered that putting the panel approximately one inch from the CFL bulb produced just over three volts of power. That's two AA batteries worth of voltage coming out of the bulb. Currently, he is experimenting on ways to harness the total power of the CFL in order to create a self-sustaining circuit. Quite impressive for a 13 year-old. So far, we haven't been able to create a self-sustaining lamp. But he is determined to do so.

Although the power provided by some of these items are indeed miniscule when you consider the grand scope of things, it is still an exhilarating discovery to the children to find other means of power. There is more to light than many of us realize and seeing the discoveries through the eyes of the children can open our own imaginations. Broaden their horizons by subjecting them to a power source that is superior to others in a variety of ways.

This is a guest post by Liz Nelson from WhiteFence.com. She is a freelance writer and blogger from Houston. Questions and comments can be sent to: liznelson17@gmail.com. Image attribution freedigitalphotos.net.

Topics: Guest Post, Renewable Energy

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