On Saturday the 2nd of November, the Community Links centre in Canning Town held host to the Royal Academy of Engineering supported “PPL PWR Build Your Own Solar Panel Workshop”, with 12 participants aged eleven up to 21 years old.
In the mix were some wonderful young innovators, and four very brilliant young ladies who were studying in sixth forms, all of whom were all super enthusiastic about STEM learning and becoming the scientists of the future. It was so great to see! We started the workshop with brainstorming and idea sharing about the need for solar power and its possible applications.
Whilst the weather outside was atrocious, our soldering irons kept things warm inside, as the participants hand-soldered their solar panels.
The aim was to gain the hands-on, practical skill of using a soldering iron and the workshop required the soldering of metal strips to the solar cells (ensuring they were the right way round and without the wrong wires from touching each other!). All participants managed to deftly handle the delicate panels on to the board, connecting the wires to the charge controller and then covering it all with a laminated sheet to make their own mini portable power plant to take home with them.
Despite set-backs, such as cracking the fragile solar cells, it was nothing a bit of sellotape couldn’t solve and it didn’t stop any of our participants from ending the day with a fully functional solar panel.
The participants racked up their solar panels alongside the windows and, despite the rainclouds outside, their solar panels managed to generate enough power to charge their battery packs!
From looking through the feedback forms, the response to the workshop was overwhelmingly positive, and everyone had a great time – with many had already signed up for more of our upcoming workshops in the RA Engineering supported series.
Thanks to Molkie for developing the workshop, and to my fellow volunteers, Katya and Yeojin, for helping to make the workshop run so smoothly.