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Solar Panels for Your Home

NOVA scienceNOW, WGBH Educational Foundation, Teachers' Domain

In this video segment from NOVA's Saved By the Sun hour-long video, students learn about photovoltaics and see how two families are using solar technologies in their homes. The video introduces the ideas of state incentives and net metering benefits.

Video length: 3:55 minutes.

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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

About the Science

  • An animation illustrates the process within solar panels that transforms sunlight into electricity. Then Phil Reavis, Jr. explains his interest in solar energy and the environment, and how his family was able to install solar panels on the roof of their house to produce electricity. In addition, the custom-designed home of Bill and Debbie Lord is discussed, which uses both solar electricity panels and solar hot water panels.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Attempts to explain net metering, mentions difference between solar thermal and solar PV panels.

About the Pedagogy

  • A background essay, discussion questions, and a link to standards is provided.
  • The animation provided is great for students to visualize how solar panels work. The animation shows how photons and electrons work within panels, and how that feeds electricity to a house.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Has closed-captioned text.

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