Solar Energy Science Projects

Ashley Said:

I need to get a hold of a solar energy scientist/expert for a science project. can someone help?

We Answered:

Howdy! So what do you need??? Any information on working of solar panels or information on making solar panels? Please be precise to what you need. If you need any instructions on making solar panels or something then i can help you out. Always give some explanation to what you need.

Carl Said:

Green Energy Project for environmental science class, solar panels on the Chrysler Building in NY?

We Answered:

You want to ruin the look of one of the most beautiful buildings in NYC? Shame on you. Pick somewhere else, perhaps the Guggenheim. [Yeah, I know that some artsy type will complain. But they probably support solar energy, so ignore them.]

On second though, put panels on the Great Kills landfill sight. No one lives there but seagulls. There are no trees or tall buildings to block the light. The panels could be placed on swivels that make them face the brightest source of light, the sun. I know that they work because my Sister-in-Law has them on her farm. Four panels, each four times the area of a ping pong table produce more electricity per year than they use. They sell the rest to the power company.

The biggest problem would be cleaning the panels (seagulls are messy). They could be cleaned as part of a community service program for first-time DWI offenders. If that doesn’t stop them from drinking and driving, then put them under the landfill.

Ramon Said:

What are some good experiments on solar energy?

We Answered:

Here’s a relatively simple idea:

Make a solar panel from 1/4″ copper tubing bent into a meander and glue or solder it to a thin (~2 mm) copper sheet. Make this to cover a known area, for example 1/2 meter x 1/2 meter for 0.25 meter^2

Paint it with flat black paint.

Run water at a slow rate through the copper tube. Measure the temperature of the water entering the pipe, and the water exiting the pipe. The temperature rise, flow rate, and properties of water will give you the amount of solar power (watts) you are collecting.

Do this under various conditions. For example, sunny days, partly cloudy days, overcast days. Do it with the input temperature at different values. Do it at different times of day.

Calculate and chart the available energy for these various conditions. It might be very helpful to show the available energy over the greater part of a sunny day, or a day with varying conditions. Compare the collected solar energy to an equivalent amount of electrical energy.

Use your data to estimate the size of solar collection array to collect heat for a home. For practical purposes, remember that heat pumps can raise the temperature of the collected heat to useful amounts, so even “cool” water that comes out of an array that is collecting heat will provide energy that can heat a home.

Marjorie Said:

How much money will you save by switching to solar energy. ?

We Answered:

I don’t have statistics, but I can tell you about my system. It cost $26K, I got a $10K rebate from my utility and I will get a $2K fed tax credit (starting this year it will be 30%). I am saving about $2K per year. Electricity rates in my state increase an average of 5% annually (recently it has been more like 8%). I will break even in 6-7 years and will save over $50K in the 25 year life span of my system.

If you are looking at large scale projects you can look at the project being built in CA, I’ll put the link. Basically you have the initial costs and maintenance, so it should be cheaper to produce electricity from solar. With carbon based energy there is a constant resource needed to run the plant which is subject to wild costs swings.