The benefit of rooftop solar panels – that they easily function up on rooftops and out of sight – is also a challenge when it comes to easily showing people how exactly solar-energy systems work. Not all rooftops are easily accessible. Many require ladders or special access. And many, like the rooftop of the Gateway STEM High School in downtown St. Louis, are several stories high.
So when we knew that we would be presenting to a group of students, media, and President and Chelsea Clinton during CGI U’s Day of Action at Gateway STEM, we were also presented with a challenge: how do we come up a way to show everyone on the ground what’s happening up on the rooftop above them?
Meet Horace: our mobile solar-energy demo unit. Named after Swiss scientist Horace de Saussure, who in 1767 built the world’s first solar collector, Horace was designed and built at our Kansas City headquarters and traveled to St. Louis for our big weekend. He’s a simple concept – all the parts of a solar-power installation bundled together on a trailer – but makes a big impact. For anyone who’s a visual learner, he makes it that much more powerful to connect the “how” solar energy works with the parts that make it happen.
Below we’ve documented the making of Horace, which on a small scale, demonstrates what each one of our solar installations entails. Take a look, and ask us any questions in the comments below.