Thursday, February 8, 2018

Third-graders at the farm


Third-graders from Tsukuba International School (TIS) came this year again
 to learn about renewable energy and solar sharing.

20 students and 7 teachers and parents on February 6, 2018

This was already third time that TIS students visited our farm.

This time, baby goats and chickens took all the spotlight, but that's just fine. As far as I remember, the purpose of school excursions was always (1) to have fun, (2) maybe to learn something. But the times may have changed since my school years, because the TIS children were (despite the baby goat distraction) curious and inquisitive, as they've always been on their visits to our farm, so we most probably managed to learn something together.

We talked about how the energy from sun turns into electricity when sunlight hits the panel surface, and how that electricity moves through the cables to inverters, then to the distribution box and finally up the utility pole to the public grid, so people can use the electricity in their homes. 

As all the things mentioned - the panels, the inverters, the utility pole - were right there on the farm in front of us, I hope the abstract concept of electricity became a little more concrete. 

We also checked out how much the electricity production changes when I change the tilt of the panels. (In February, the optimum angle in our area is 50 degrees. When we moved the tilt to the July position of about 4 degrees, electricity generation dropped by about 30%, which is a lot.) 
*We can check power generation status of the farm in the real time thanks to Solar monitor.

This year we didn't have much time to talk about the chickens (why we have chickens at the farm), but that's fine too. As long as the students had fun and remember the chickens, the goats, and the solar panels as they saw them on the farm, mission is completed. I can sleep well at night.