Publication Detail

Designing with the Sun: Solar Curriculum Project


Research Report

National Center for Sustainable Transportation

Suggested Citation:
Ferguson, Beth (2022) Designing with the Sun: Solar Curriculum Project. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-22-15

This report presents creative engagement activities based onthe Designing with the Sun: Solar Curriculum Project that teaches high school and undergraduate students the principles of solar design and the steps needed to design and build a solar charging station. This in-depth curriculum covers renewable energy, electricity basics, solar design principles, and solar-supported mobility. Each chapter has a PowerPoint presentation, an active learning activity, video clips, and links to learn more. The solar curriculum materials are free for educators and self-learners to download and explore at their own pace. Small scale solar charging stations provide a living lab for research and a place to recharge e-bikes and e-scooters. Shared micromobility (e-bike and e-scooter fleets) have exploded in popularity on college campuses and can help reduce car ownership and carbon emissions when recharged with the sun. As universities plan for the challenges of the 21st century, incorporating multifaceted forms of renewable energy with electric vehicle charging is a step toward climate action and decarbonization. Creative rethinking on a massive scale is required to meet the goals set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the COP 21 Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5°C. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals such as Affordable and Clean Energy; Industry, Innovationand Infrastructure; and Sustainable Cities and Communities are all important guides for modeling solar education.

Key words: Solar energy, photovoltaic, solar design, renewable energy