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13-yr-old uses math to design better solar panel arrangement!

Willy Kerlang


Joined: Apr 29, 2011
Posts: 106
This kid is amazing.  He uses the Fibonacci sequence, a naturally occurring infinite series of numbers, to rearrange solar panels to mimic tree branches.  (The Fibonacci sequence is found everywhere in nature, from trees to the structure of dragonfly wings to the placement of seeds in a sunflower's head.)  It collects 20% more solar power than a typical array and has an average of 2.5 hours more exposure because of the way the panels are arranged.  Go kid!

http://northport.patch.com/articles/young-naturalist-granted-a-patent-in-solar-energy
Willy Kerlang


Joined: Apr 29, 2011
Posts: 106
This is actually a better place to read about it, in his own words:

http://www.amnh.org/nationalcenter/youngnaturalistawards/2011/aidan.html
Jeanine Gurley
steward

Joined: May 23, 2011
Posts: 1385
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
    
    6
As I posted on my FB acct:  It is not amazing to me that trees are better collectors of sunlight than our current man-made collectors.

What is REALLY AMAZING is that this 13 year old saw this and applied it.

Lesson learned?  Get the kids away from the TV and out into nature.  They might learn something and we might learn something from them.


1. my projects
Guy De Pompignac


Joined: Nov 16, 2010
Posts: 187
Location: SW of France
What is strange is that this design is even more efficient in winter, but i guess this is luck cause i don't see why trees need sunlight in winter (except evergreen ones)  ?


Follow our design (in french) on our 3 acres property in SW France.
quasiperiodic McCoy


Joined: Aug 20, 2011
Posts: 4
not to be a debbie downer, but the thing about the efficiency bonus is the bogus result of a 13yr old's understanding of electricity without a knowledgeable mentor, and sensationalist press.

please dont set up your solar panels this way.
Willy Kerlang


Joined: Apr 29, 2011
Posts: 106
Quasi, I saw the same debunking article you did after I posted this... though the fact is, they haven't actually shown that this DOESN'T work... they've just shown that the kid didn't properly show that it does work.  Not quite the same thing.  But you're right to bring it up, and everyone should know that there is some controversy around this at the moment.

The other reason I was excited about posting this was to teach permies about the Fibonacci sequence, however.  The way these numbers appear in nature is amazing.
christine lawson


Joined: Jun 01, 2011
Posts: 34
Location: West Quebec

  I saw this article too, and it gave me a really valuable clue as to why the wild grape vines don't like the support we offered them. These vines have been trying to come into the yard for years, and as the grapes make fantastic jelly, oh baby it's good, we wanted to encourage them. Hubby rigged up a ladder shaped thing out of leftover deck wood, and for a while the vines took, then they did a u-turn back to the forest they came from. They're designed, to seems, to go straight up, or horizontally, they didn't like the angle of their trellis. I'm not inclined to argue.
  This is pertinent to the pruning of fruit trees, too, no doubt.

And it would make for much more aesthetically pleasing solar arrays IMO. The ones I've seen in our neck of the woods are rows and rows of panels, set in gravel in once fertile farmland - a new kind of monoculture on the landscape.
Jeanine Gurley
steward

Joined: May 23, 2011
Posts: 1385
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
    
    6
The really refreshing thing about a young mind is that it sees only possibilities until we teach it otherwise.

He may be right, he may be wrong - but he's thinking about possibilities.
 
 
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