VEEP Grant to Allow TA Students to Build DIY Solar-Based Chargers

VEEP Grant to Allow TA Students to Build DIY Solar-Based Chargers

Inspired by reading William Kamkwamba’s book, The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, Dean of Academics Marc Chabot’s high school physics students will build Do-It-Yourself solar-based charging units to power a device that is used in their day-to-day life, thanks to a $1,000 grant from the Vermont Energy Education Program (VEEP).

In a project related to an existing unit on DC circuits, students will learn about the practical applications of circuits. With off-the-shelf components, and using simple 6V, 240mA solar panels, students will design and build a device that will safely charge the batteries of a household device.  Before charging their actual device, they will charge a test device to mimic their own product, to prevent damage to their property.

As part of their device design and implementation, students will calculate the power generated by the device, the efficiency of the device, and the mass of CO2 saved by using this device rather than using household current. They will make order-of-magnitude calculations of the savings their device could make if widely used by the general population.  

This device will be presented to a community panel on the last day of class in January 2017. 

Thanks to funding by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, VEEP developed a small grant program to help bring climate-oriented projects to life in Vermont schools.  This fall’s grants were in the amounts of $100 to $1,000, with TA receiving the maximum grant amount available.

Note that TA Design Technology teacher Chris Schmidt tutored William Kamkwamba, the young man from Malawi who wrote the book that inspired this project, in mathematics while Kamkwamba was a student at Dartmouth. Kamkwamba visited TA a few years ago when he was a student at Dartmouth. The photo above is of William and his windmills.