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Campers get up to speed on solar power at Albany State University

Posted July 6

— Solar power has been in the news quite a bit, especially with former President Carter's land in Plains being used for a solar power farm. Some young students in Albany, however, are getting more light shone on the subject at a camp at Albany State University.

Dr. Arun Saha, a physics professor at Albany State, is introducing the campers to physical science at the ASU-Constellation Solar Camp.

"The camp is used to foster STEM education in southwest Georgia," Saha said. "These students will be encouraged to participate in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs, and students will be designing solar panels that will charge rechargeable batteries.

"In this camp, the students will design a solar panel that will charge a rechargeable scooter by satellite and then they will test-drive a scooter."

On the first day of the camp, Saha had students partake in multiple experiences, including using batteries and resistance to measure currents and voltage.

"When you use solar cells you have to be able to measure the voltage and currents of solar cells that is given," Saha said. "This particular experience is a prerequisite used to prepare students for understanding a solar cell."

Students who are participating in the camp were busy calculating and figuring out specific measurements. "Today we are learning about solar cells, and how you can calculate a battery and its voltage, and how strong a battery is and the different circuits there are you can use to apply on a battery," camper Joshua Anthony explained.

When students Jahnavi Gottapu and Pratistha Kunwar were asked what they learned, they explained that they were learning about electrical currents and solar panels and how they work. They described the camps as "a very fun experience" for kids in middle school in high school because they can "learn things that are in higher standards."

After the students finished measuring electrical currents, they received a lecture on the basics of physics. During the lecture, the professor explained how to calculate power, and watts. He also demonstrated the difference between physical science and other scientific studies, like chemistry.

After the lecture they began using solar panels and batteries to measure the currents and voltage. In order for the students to measure the currents and voltage, they used a lamp to shine on the solar panel. The distance between the light and solar panel determined the measurement of the units. The experiment was interactive, and the students said it was a fun way to be introduced to physical science.

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