Friday, January 21, 2011

Wind and Solar Power Estimation Tools

My post earlier today about using Google Earth to estimate potential solar energy in California reminded me of a similar resource that I discovered a couple of years ago. The following is an updated version of a post from 2009.

SEREF, the Solar Energy Research and Education Foundation, has built a couple of tools that could be of interest to science teachers. SEREF has an energy estimation tool that allows you to estimate the potential solar and wind energy of any location. To use the estimation tool you have to enter your location using on the map and input the size of the solar panels or wind turbine structure. You can also draw out the dimensions of your solar panels on the map. The potential energy is then calculated based on climate, latitude, and typical weather patterns. 

Applications for Education 
The SEREF energy estimator offers teachers and opportunity to create a lesson using science, mathematics, and geography concepts. Students can use the estimation tool to discover the solar and wind energy potential of their location then make and test a hypothesis about other locations. Students can also experiment with the size of solar panels and the angle to the sun to see what the potential change in energy would be.