Solar Science

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We’ve been in our new home four weeks as of yesterday. It’s hard to believe! Of course, in between unpacking we had a week at the county fair and I was away five days to Dallas. So, it almost doesn’t feel that long. One of the fun perks of our new house (there are many) is a handsome set of solar panels. So handsome that the previous owners were power neutral last year- considering the mild winter with no snow cover to speak of. We probably won’t make that as we hope there will be snow cover and we have twice the people living here as they did. And some of them leave lights on. Some of them just want all the lights on. Ahem.

But, the solar panels have peaked the interest of especially our engineer J7. He spent some of his birthday money on a new solar kit (he has the Snap Circuits Green set already) and has been enjoying it since. I have to say that these panels provide some amazing learning moments. I’m looking forward to more.

Our new house- the solar panels face the southern sky. Pretty discreet and pretty awesome.

This is the inverter in our basement- you can read the input meter and it tells how much power is being generated and how much we use vs how much we sell back to the power company.

The new Solar Workshop– pretty sturdy and fun to use. The building elements are basically large sized technic lego type pieces- same building system in a larger size really.

One of my Instagram photos (seriously I really do post a bunch to twitter and fb) of J7 building his first mission- a solar tractor!

One day a couple weeks ago we had to have our radon fan rewired (it had been wired to a switch and had gotten turned off) and the electricians were working in our basement. J7 wanted to watch- because there were things happening with electricity- of course. As we were hanging out and observing from afar, the inverter started making a loud buzz. This made us curious. J7 learned that each time the buzz was loud, the number on the inverter readout increased. Then I asked him if it was related to the sun- there were big puffy clouds in the sky that day. Sure enough. When the clouds let the sun through, the inverter went crazy. What a fun find!

Another solar fun fact…we have battery back up on our kitchen and bathrooms which can provide power to those critical places for up to four days if we lose power.

We are still learning about it all- in terms of maintenance and care and all that…but it’s a pretty fun thing to have bought with the house! I am certain there will be more homeschool lessons to come from these panels. Stay tuned!

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