The news is brighter in downtown Las Cruces thanks to a local solar company’s donation to the museum of nature and science.
Under a partly cloudy sky, a bright spot emerged.
The Museum of Nature and Science in downtown Las Cruces received brand new solar experiment kits from Sunspot Solar.
The kits make it easier to understand the technology.
You can see how it works just by stepping into the sunlight.
“And how it could be used to power motors and lights and buzzers and of course in large systems it can run a whole house or a whole building.”
Mellow Honek owns Sunspot Solar.
“I have always loved experimenting with electricity,” said Honek.
Once the sun hits the cells, power moves into a motor sending it to a wheel that starts to spin.
Learning about solar technology can start small.
“Being able to connect devices and disconnect devices and of course the amounts of electricity involved in these kits is very low so there’s no shock or anything like that – there’s no danger so it’s a real safe way to experiment with electricity, to experiment with the impact of solar…and see how it works and have fun.”
Museum director Will Ticknor wants kids that come to the museum to have fun and get some hands on experience.
“It’s really important for kids to be able to get involved physically with the things they’re learning about so these kind of interactive science kits are very, very helpful to kids being able to understand the larger principles – in this particular case - of how solar power works.”
Ticknor says the museum can fill in gaps where the classroom leaves off for the young students in the area.
“We are not a substitution for education; we’re an enhancement for public education so the kind of things like the large track ways exhibit or the magic planet. Those are things schools don’t have.
In other words…
“We bring the icing to the cake.”
Mellow Honek experimented with electricity himself as a child.
“I always enjoyed electronics and I would build electronic devices in my room…and of course my mother would be rolling her eyes because she’d be picking stuff out of my bedspread.”
Children 5 and up will be able to experiment with the solar kits through classes at the museum of nature and science.
Those classes are planned for fall of 2013.
Until then, the museum has alternative energy on display right now in the parking lot. Solar panels and small wind turbines attached right to the light poles power the lights when it’s dark outside.
Solar panels are seeing a recent dip in prices in the U.S. after being overproduced in the last year, but the market changes quickly.
The Wall Street Journal reports the European Union will soon start imposing tariffs of up to 67 percent on solar panels made in China.
The U.S. already has already placed tariffs on the much cheaper Chinese panels.