Solar power inspiring the next generation

June 13, 2019

Children from an Alice Springs school have been learning about why their local environment is ideal for producing solar power.

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The group of about 70 year sev­ens from Cen­tralian Mid­dle School took part in one of four pack­ages avail­able through the Edu-Tourism pro­gram, coor­di­nat­ed by Desert Knowl­edge Aus­tralia (DKA). 

Their excur­sion was fund­ed by the Intyal­heme Cen­tre for Future Ener­gy, a flag­ship project of DKA, aimed at help­ing the North­ern Ter­ri­to­ry achieve 50 per cent renew­able ener­gy by 2030

Intyal­heme want­ed to inspire chil­dren to under­stand how solar pow­er is pro­duced, and per­haps con­sid­er a career in the industry. 

Magnify Dscf3063 Shila Salai And Daniel Briggs

Shi­la Salai and Daniel Brig­gs with a solar grasshopper

Engi­neers from local tech­ni­cal con­sul­tan­cy Ekisti­ca explained renew­able and non-renew­able sources of ener­gy to the stu­dents, who then built their own solar grasshop­pers, and test­ed them in the sunshine. 

The sec­ond half of the ses­sion was spent at the DKA Solar Cen­tre, a demon­stra­tion facil­i­ty that mon­i­tors real-life per­for­mance of a wide range of solar pho­to­volta­ic technologies.

12-year-old Shi­la Salei said she was impressed” to learn the Solar Cen­tre pro­duces about 40 per cent of the ener­gy used at the Desert Knowl­edge Precinct. Mean­while, 11-year-old Daniel Brig­gs was par­tic­u­lar­ly tak­en by the track­ing arrays. 

I liked mak­ing the grasshop­pers, and learn­ing how the solar pan­els work, espe­cial­ly look­ing at the ones that track the sun,” he said. 

Magnify Dscf3107 Solar Bingo Winners Brandy Loechte And Jack Magnay

Solar bin­go win­ners Brandy Loechte and Jack Magnay

12-year-old Brandy Loechte was one of the win­ners of the solar bin­go” com­pe­ti­tion. She was thrilled to dis­cov­er the unique facil­i­ty in Alice Springs. 

I saw the gates to come here but I nev­er knew what this place was until today,” said Brandy. 

It’s pret­ty cool because there are a lot of solar pan­els every­where, and it’s good because there’s a ton of sun here which makes this place special.” 

Magnify Dscf3102 Cms Students With Ekistica Engineer Shalini Ganji And Intyalheme General Manager G

CMS stu­dents with Ekisti­ca engi­neer Shali­ni Gan­ji and Intyal­heme Gen­er­al Man­ag­er Glenn Marshall

Year Sev­en teacher Mikaila Man­go­hig said it was impor­tant to expose stu­dents to career options they might not oth­er­wise be aware of. 

Under­stand­ing the dif­fer­ence between renew­able and non-renew­able resources is a part of the Year Sev­en sci­ence cur­ricu­lum, and the engi­neers from Ekisti­ca did a great job explain­ing this,” Ms Man­go­hig said. 

It was great for stu­dents to learn in a hands-on envi­ron­ment what solar pow­er is and how the dif­fer­ent com­po­nents work togeth­er to get ener­gy from the sun to our pow­er points.”

In addi­tion to the Solar Cen­tre pack­age, the Desert Knowl­edge Precinct Edu-Tourism Pro­gram also engages STEM pro­fes­sion­als from the Cen­tre for Appro­pri­ate Tech­nol­o­gy to deliv­er a ses­sion on sup­port­ing remote communities. 

There is also an expe­ri­ence avail­able with Geo­science Aus­tralia, where stu­dents learn about satel­lites and how to fly drones; and a hands-on Coun­try and Cul­ture expe­ri­ence, designed with Batch­e­lor Insti­tute. For more infor­ma­tion email info@​dka.​com.​au.

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