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Building Solar Cells In The Classroom

ANSER researchers prepare a new generation for a more sustainable future

Mike M. McMahon | July 3, 2018
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Renewable energy saw the highest growth rate of any fuel source in 2017, meeting a quarter of global energy demand growth last year according to the International Energy Agency. With an eye on this rapidly changing global energy landscape, members of the Argonne-Northwestern Solar Energy Research (ANSER) Center have developed an experiential learning program and startup company to teach younger generations about the shift towards a more sustainable future. The researchers have created hands-on educational kits that allow middle school and high school students to build solar cells and batteries using common household items.

“We believe it’s important to engage students in the STEM fields [science, technology, engineering, and math] at an early age,” says Dick Co, research professor of chemistry at Northwestern and ANSER Center director of operations and outreach. “Who wouldn’t enjoy making a solar cell with their own hands and experiencing the magic of turning sunlight into electricity?”