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T&D World Magazine
Solar Challenge

Solar Challenge

Dr. Walter Fuddle, Director of Research at Hinterland Electric, has been obsessed with solar power since falling asleep on a Southern California beach and being hospitalized with severe sunburn (losing most of his hair as a result). Dr. Fuddle's latest invention is a solar powered coffee maker to replace the cafeteria vending machine and it's undrinkable powdered coffee. But something went wrong in his calculations. Apparently he undersized the PV solar panel. Can you help?
What would be the minimum square footage panel required to boil enough water for a 12 oz. cup in 5 minutes? State your assumptions.
Enter as many times as you want. A $25 gift card will go to the first right answer. Another $25 winner will be selected from the other right answers. We need your email to send the gift card so make sure you're registered (and you have verified your registration via email) when you leave your comment in the box below.

We had some great thinkers respond to the Solar Challenge.  Unfortunately the first three responders were on to something but they didn’t register their names (come on folks – ya gotta register to win!). For their detailed calculations we awarded cunninjn and adambutts a $25 gift card each. However, both answers assumed doctor Fuddle would only drink coffee during the peak insolation time, around noon. That seems unlikely and wyatt pointed that out – so we’re going to break our rules and send wyatt a gift card also.

Surprisingly, all but one left out assumptions about latitude, season etc.

Of course, our own expert panelist, Todd Ike Kiefer, with his usual panache, added those and a lot more details and humor. Well worth reading!

In the end it looks like Dr. Fuddle should just buy his coffee at the nearby café.


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