Solar Energy

Solar Energy

Exhibit Highlights

Outside on the patio, move a solar panel to catch the sun and make the fountain run! Look for the Heliostat that shines a beam of sunlight into the Museum to light up the Rainbow Room.

Learning Topics

  • Explore science, technology, and engineering concepts
  • Experiment with the power of the sun
  • Learn about solar energy

Solar Energy

On a sunny day, visitors can experiment with the Solar Fountain. Move the solar panels around to catch the sun and make the fountain run!

Located outside the Museum, the Heliostat stays aimed at the sun while the earth turns so that we get a beam of sunlight shining into the Museum all day long. Inside, several mirrors bounce that light down into the Rainbow Room, where visitors can experiment with light reflectivity and rainbows by using prisms and CDs to split white light into a spectrum of colors.

In 2011, WOW! was awarded a grant to put solar panels on our building! Our panels generate
252 kilowatt hours of electricity, which is enough to light the museum for one week. The solar panels generate even more electricity in the summer, when the days are longer and the sun is higher in the sky.

What you’ll learn:

Learn and experiment with solar power in this exhibit. Visitors can see the effects of the sun through changing angles of the solar panels, covering part of the panel with their hands, and observing what happens when a cloud comes along. The effects of these changes are immediately seen though the activity of the fountain spouting high, low, or not at all! Our solar exhibit extends through a reflective panel system called a heliostat. The heliostat reflects light beams into the museum to be used in our Rainbow Room!.

  • Experiment with the power of solar energy
  • Learn science, technology, and engineering concepts such as actions cause reactions, solar power systems, light reflectivity, and light spectrum concepts
  • Learn social skills and community life skills through communication, cooperation, and organization

Plan a Visit