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.
While building your own solar array to provide enough power to your home to be 100-percent sustainable could cost tens of thousands of dollars, you don’t need a lot of money to teach children how it works and why it’s important. In fact, there are a lot of kits on the market that can serve semi-practical uses while demonstrating to the kids the mechanics of it all. Most of these kits cost less than $150 and can provide a wealth of knowledge for green sustainability.
1. Solar Arrays - The solar panel kit offered by HarborFreight.com produces 45 watts of power while providing the capabilities to power small 12-volt devices. It also supports the use of 5 volt USB devices such as phone charges and other USB electronics normally purchased for computers. This kit can be expanded on by combing more panels together while using a deep cycle battery and an inverter – both are sold separately. This is a fun and quick project for your children to assemble and can be utilized in many ways for practicality such as camping or tied into your home power needs. The kit itself is less than $250.
2. Wind Turbines - For less than $130, you could demonstrate to your children the power of wind turbines from KidWind.com. These wind turbines can be purchased as small single units to elaborate classroom kits, each turbine producing as much as two watts of power. These kits are tailored specifically for children and include easy to follow instructions in order to assemble them. Although they may not have the maximum production value of power as the solar kit listed above, they can easily be used to demonstrate how humans can harness natural sources of energy without consuming fuels to do so.
3. Small Solar Panels - For those who don’t want to spend a great deal of money teaching their children about solar power, LegacyStation.com offers an inexpensive kit to power several different projects. This 6-in-1 kit is under $20 and can demonstrate how to use solar power in order to create vehicles or propulsion systems in aircraft. These are easy to assemble and will provide a great deal of entertainment without the use of a single battery. Of course, there is nothing wrong with modification of any project should you want to demonstrate how solar arrays can power an object while charging a battery in order for the object to continue functionality when solar power is low. This would only require the use of a battery pack and rechargeable batteries that can be picked up from Radio Shack for less than $20.
4. Pressurized Power - While solar and wind are two of the most popular and practical methods for renewable energy sources, NationalGeographic.com has made an air and water power kit to teach children about how pressure can be used to power a variety of machines including vehicles. The kit allows children to build 15 different vehicles all powered by hydro-pneumo technologies. Pressurized air and water can be used as a form of propulsion, and the kit costs less than $50.
Getting your children excited about renewable energies now increases the knowledge they will have later. As technology develops to make these sources more efficient, preparing our future through educating our young will only increase the likelihood of total global sustainability in the decades to come. Your child may very well be the innovator that history remembers for delivering the perfected system – all from the kits they put together at 10 years old.
EDITOR’S NOTE: We are always receptive to having people create guest blogs for us, as the influx of opinions always makes for interesting reading.