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Shining Bright: Solar Project by Abby ‘21 Wins Prize at International Science Fair

Abby Greenhalgh ‘21 placed second at the DC STEM Fair this year for her project on solar panels, giving her the opportunity to travel to Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Phoenix, AZ; there, she took home the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Foundation’s third place prize. 

According to a press release by ISEF, “IEEE is the world's largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity.” The foundation distributes special awards at ISEF to recognize outstanding projects. Abby received a $400 prize for her work.

Abby’s project focused on rotating solar panels, using both 3D printing (solar panels and cylinder for rotation) and coding. According to the project abstract, “The sensory solar panels on my project can sense where the sun is shining based on photo sensors that collect sensor data based on instructions from code on an Arduino board … The solar panels will turn towards the area of maximum sunlight, allowing the panels to obtain a consistent amount of sunlight from the sun throughout the day, making it highly efficient. With more energy obtained from the sun in a day, there will be more solar energy available for use and storage (like for a rainy day or night time) and more energy to be used to power electrical equipment. Additionally, the rotation of these panels to receive maximum sunlight will reduce shadows from the other solar panels in the group, increasing efficiency even further.”

Abby said she was surprised and excited to hear her name called. “I met people from all over the world. I made great friends that I will definitely keep in touch with. When I received my award in front of those new friends, even though I hadn’t known them for long, they were cheering me on and it made the experience even more incredible,” said Abby. 

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