Suggestions for small classroom solar project?

Greetings. I teach a 5th/6th grade class. I would like to try some sort of classroom project using solar cells to create usable electricity. There is a foundation that will give up to $1,000 grants, so that would be my budget. I'd like to run something in the room "off the grid". We have a big electric pencil sharpener, a dorm-size refrigerator, a small microwave oven, a drip coffee maker, and a desk lamp on my desk (for when the lights are out - like when watching a video). I wouldn't be allowed to mess with the overhead lighting (4-foot flourescent tubes) and computers. I could mount a solar cell on the roof and run wires myself.

I've never done a solar project and am boggled by all the choices. I'm guessing I'd need a cell, a battery, and some sort of controller?

Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance.

P. S. I tried to post this thread earlier but it seems to have gotten lost. If this is a duplicate, I apologize.


  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 28,879 admin
    Re: Suggestions for small classroom solar project?

    You have eight replies in your original thread...

    Are you using the search for "New Posts" function?

    If you have too many threads to search through... Click on the right link to Solor News, then click on the Forum heading, and click on Mark Thread Read--this will clean up about 3/4 of the stuff you probably don't want to read.

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • RoderickRoderick Solar Expert Posts: 253 ✭✭
    Re: Suggestions for small classroom solar project?

    Your thread is fine, it's just over in the other forum ("Technical"). This is the "General" area.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Suggestions for small classroom solar project?


    Keep it simple! Here are a few suggestions:

    1. Solar race cars! Buy a bunch of kits and have races.

    2. Get small panels from Radio Shack and wire them directly to fans, spinners, etc. [ ]

    3. Make a small solar oven. Panel ovens are the easiest and work well. Use black painted containers and see who can make the hottest water in a half hour. You can use oven bags to get better results. Look at the panel cookers in this link. The solar funnel cooker uses an oven bag and gets quite hot - be careful!) [ ]

    Note - If you make a box-type solar cooker, you can leave off the glass glazing and use the oven bags instead - inside of the oven. This would be safer for your students.

    4. Make a solar hot dog cooker! [ ]

    Be safe and have fun!
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Suggestions for small classroom solar project?

    There are many solar projects from which to choose. Here is a resource that lists some solar science fair projects around the middle of the page:
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