The Thursday/Friday GAP class got to learn about solar panels today.
Local electrician, solar installer and GAP dad, Matthew Upshall, came to tell us a bit about his work. He brought some interesting things to show us too.
He told us about how people could make energy by digging up coal out of the ground then burning it. That’s not very nice for the environment though, especially for the people and animals and birds who live near the coal mines or power plants, he said.
He told us that nowadays, people can get energy from the sun by using solar panels. He said if we collected up all the energy the sun gives us over one hour, it would give us enough power for every person in the world for a whole year.  Solar energy is nicer for our environment, people, animals and birds.
We talked a bit about how we have to pay for our electricity but that energy from the sun can be free. Matthew said if our solar panels make more energy than we need then we can share it with our neighbours or sell it back to the energy companies. (Then he muttered something about how capitalism will ruin all that… and the grown-ups had a little laugh on the side. Hmmm….)
We talked about ladder safety and the children knew a lot about that already, but it was good to review it. We were fascinated to hear about Matthew’s safety harness and ropes though, and agreed a safety harness was a Very Good Idea.
The children had some good ideas about how to get on top of extremely tall buildings — by using a scissor lift, a crane, the fire department, or a long long long lo-o-o-ong ladder. (Again, we heard Matthew muttering and begging us not to make him work that high up. There was, again, general agreement from the grown-ups.)
We got to see a selection of electrician’s tools Matthew had in his tool belt: a multimeter with positive and negative probes, ein Schraubenzieher (screwdriver), eine Zange (pliers) and ein Markierstift (marker) for writing your name.
We all watched as he showed us how to carry a solar panel up a ladder.
We went to look at the solar panels we already have installed, and Matthew climbed up on the roof and helped us to count them (in German, of course).
After we took a photo of him on the roof, he took a photo of us down below!
A big “Danke schön” goes to Matthew for coming to tell us about his exciting work.
We love it when parents visit us to share interesting things: let us know if you would like to come in too!
If you want to get solar panels at your house, here are some great places to start:
- Solar Quotes (serious unbiased advice and quotes (and we really liked their page on German panels)
- Solar Hub (they work with ActewAGL)
- Captain Kilowatt (installed the panels at the Turner Scout Hall)
- ActSmart an ACT government intiative (for amazing free impartial advice, calculators and subsidy info)