Students power small fan with solar energy

Twenty high school students from Durham, Orange, Chatham, and Alamance counties recently spent a week conducting hands-on activities to examine society’s current use of energy and the technological solutions that will support a low-carbon future at the Energy Literacy, Engagement and Action Program (Energy LEAP) summer institute.

Throughout the week, students interacted with scientists, graduate students and educators, and participated in discussions, field trips and hands-on lab activities to increase their knowledge of energy science and sustainability. Students had the opportunity to visit a number of energy generation facilities, including a solar farm and a co-generation plant, and in the process learned about careers in science and engineering.

One activity that seemed to pique students’ interest involved generating energy using small solar panels to power a small fan or water pump. Using these panels, the students explored how energy generation varied based on time of day and interjected this experience in discussions about the pros and cons surrounding different renewable energies.

This student science enrichment program is administered by the UNC Institute for the Environment and is conducted in partnership with UNC’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. Financial support for this program is provided by the UNC Institute for the Environment and the Duke Energy Foundation. Learn more about Energy LEAP here: https://ie.unc.edu/energyleap/.

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