Set up time
Nil

What you need
‘Sunshine in my neighbourhood’ worksheet

 

Aim
For students to investigate and draw conclusions about where solar power stations should be located around Australia. 


Learning outcomes

1

Your students will investigate how different parts of Australia get different amounts of sunlight each year.

2

From these investigations, your students will learn to infer good locations for solar power stations.

3

Your students will use secondary sources to obtain relevant information for scientific investigation.

Instructions

The more sunshine a solar panel gets, the more efficient it is. And the more electricity it generates for use in homes and businesses.

Using data from the Bureau of Meteorology, ask students to find the parts of Australia with the most and the least daylight hours.

Based on this data, ask students to recommend places in Australia where solar power stations should be built.

Discuss the pros and cons of building power stations in the areas identified by the students.


What are the factors that influence how many daylight hours a place gets?
If you build a solar power station in the middle of the desert, can the energy travel long distances to towns and cities?

Extension: Design a solar power station

This video shows an example of an innovative solar power station in Seville. It demonstrates the possibilities of harnessing thermal energy, and is a great springboard into discussions about other how other solar power stations could work. 

Solar thermal power station

1

Homes can use solar panels to generate electricity for household appliances. What about electricity for towns and cities?

2

Look at the science behind the Seville power station’s design, and how it uses mirrors to reflect the sun’s heat and transform it to electricity.

3

Think about other ways that solar energy can be harnessed for electricity. Design a ‘solar power station’ that would work in Australia.

4

Consider the pros and cons of your solar power station, including the cost to build and maintain vs the cost of other sources of energy.