Students share renewable energy ideas at fair

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Saving money and the environment were the motivations behind a group of West Michigan high school students’ business ideas at Grand Valley State University’s Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center. It was part of the center’s first annual Renewable Energy and Technology Science Fair (RE-Fair) May 23.

More than 20 students explained their poster designs, models and prototypes to a group of five judges from Grand Valley, local businesses and the Michigan Bureau of Energy Services. Students were judged on their research, project design and business plan.

“I’m impressed with the level of knowledge about renewable energy these students possess,” said Shannon Morrow, energy efficiency and renewable energy analyst for the Michigan Bureau of Energy Services. “It’s great to see how much they know about the importance of alternative energy.”

Student projects included a rotating solar panel that sits on the top of a house and conducts electricity, a solar furnace that collects and produces heat and is made out of products from local manufacturers, and a solar charged car that runs on water.

Kim Walton, program coordinator at MAREC, said she plans on organizing a second RE-Fair next year. “The fair allowed students to explain their innovative renewable energy ideas and get feedback from the pros, and you could really tell they were excited to show off their work.”