If you are like a good many families in the United States, you try to incorporate at least some learning experiences or educational opportunities for your children into your family’s travels. In other words, either while on the road, or when you reach your vacation destination, you attempt to identify some sites or experiences that do have some value educationally for your children.
One idea you should consider is taking your children to a solar farm. In many ways, solar energy, including that produced at solar farms. is becoming an ever more important power resource in the United States, and in many other nations across the globe. Depending on the age of your children, learning at least something about solar energy likely is a part of their curriculum.
If you contemplate the idea of taking your children to a solar farm, there are some important facts and factors associated with such a visit that you do need to bear in mind.
It’s All About the Sun
Even though is some ways solar energy, including solar farms, is something of an “old hat” technology, particularly for your kids who’ve never known a time without it, solar farms and drawing power from the sun is a pretty amazing process. Indeed, understanding the awesome power of Earth’s star is an important prelude to paying a visit to a solar farm with your children.
The sun is far and away the single most massive thing in our solar system. In fact, the sun accounts for 99.86 percent of all mass in the solar system. In other words, absolutely everything else, including each and every planet, moon, and asteroid, makes up a miniscule .14 percent of the mass of the solar system. Lending some further perspective, one million Earths would equal the size of the sun.
Having said all of this about the sun, when contrasted with other stars, the sun isn’t all that big. It technically is known as a yellow dwarf star. Red dwarfs appear to be the most common types of stars in the universe, and the sun is quite a bit larger than those stars. It takes about 10 minutes for the light from the sun to reach the Earth.
Energy from the sun is considered a renewable energy source. Unlike coal or oil, energy from the sun is said to be enduring and will be available to Earthlings forever. In fact, that technically is not correct. Scientists estimate that the sun is about halfway through burning the hydrogen available to it. The sun has been burning hydrogen for an estimated 4.5 million years and has about 5 million years left.
When the sun exhausts it’s hydrogen supply, it will then start burning helium. The process of burning helium will carry on for about 130 t0 150 million years. However, during this time, the sun will start to expand. Ultimately, the sun will grow so large that it will consume Mercury, Mars, Earth, and Venus.
Lending some perspective, most scientists believe that modern day humans have been on Earth for about 200,000 years. Civilizations can trace their origins back about 6,000 years.
The Mechanics of a Solar Farm
One of the common types of solar farms involves capturing energy from the sun via specially designed solar panels. The captured energy heats up oil contained in connected pipes. Oftentimes, these pipes are made of steel.
The heated oil is then pumped to a generator where it in turn heats up water. The steam released from the water activates the generator, creating electricity.
Steel is used not only in pipes at some solar farms, but also in component parts of generators as well. In addition, the solar panels themselves may also contain steel.
Making a Tour Reservation at a Solar Farm
The wise course to take if you desire to take your children to a solar farm while you’re on a trip is to schedule an appointment for a tour in advance. Most solar farms do reserve spaces on tours of their facilities.
At the present time, a majority of the solar farms in operation in the United States are located in the Southwestern part of the country. With that said, their are solar farms in other parts of the United States as well. The number of new solar farms under construction has increased dramatically in the past decade. That trend towards the creation of even more solar farms is expected to continue into the future. This is particularly the case as technology advances, rendering the building of and operation of solar farms more affordable.
Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Federal Steel Supply, Inc., a leading steel tubing suppliers of carbon, alloy and stainless steel pipe, tubes, fittings and flanges.