Yosemite Style: Understanding Renewable Energy
Back in 2000, I was a field biologist inventorying the birds of Yosemite National Park.
I lived in a trailer without hot water and had a big dirty dishes problem. To solve my problem, I made a trip to the local hardware store and bought some black plastic pipe, hose connectors, and other bits to make a rudimentary solar collector.
After two more trips and some head scratching, I was able to pipe hot water directly to my kitchen sink! It worked flawlessly and did the job even though the set-up was very basic.
That’s when I realized this solar stuff really works!
That's also when I made a shift in my career goals from documenting the decline of the ecological systems to doing something about it. With my new interest in solar energy, I went back to school to study Photovoltaic system design and installation so I could make a positive impact on the ecosystems I was studying.
For this 3rd installment of the HelioKids GATE program at Maie Ellis Elementary School in Fallbrook, CA, the students explore the concepts and uses for my favorite topic- Renewable Energy.
This class session highlights the differences between renewable and non-renewable sources of energy, while continuing to build on their growing knowledge of energy.
One key area of differentiation we discuss is distributed vs centralized electricity generation. Many of the HelioKids have solar PV systems so the topic of distributed generation is entirely ‘close to home’.
Our demonstration this week is “Solar Hot Water”.
Using simple materials like what I used in my trailer in Yosemite, the HelioKids will make hot water using only heat from the Sun.
Our HelioKids program is a sponsorship by Helio Energy Solutions to teach kids the basics of energy, solar power and electricity from industry experts.
As a small introduction, here are a few words from our Senior Vice President of Professional Services, Jonah Liebes about our HelioKids Program.