13-Year-Old Girl Wins $25,000 For Invention To Make Solar Panels More Efficient

13-Year-Old Girl Wins $25,000 For Invention To Make Solar Panels More Efficient

December 18, 2018

We’re a little obsessed with headlines about kids doing cool stuff to save the planet, so when we learned that a 13-year-old recently won $25,000 for inventing technology to make solar panels more efficient, we couldn’t wait to share the news with you.

Georgia Hutchinson, a middle school student from Woodside, California, won the annual Broadcom Masters contest for developing a tool that identifies where the sun is at any given time. Her invention, a “data-driven dual-axis solar tracker,” is a system that compiles data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to determine where exactly the sun is and tilt solar panels to squeeze as much power out of them as possible.

Hutchinson beat out a pool of 30 finalists, and her school’s STEM program also received $1,000 from competition sponsors the Broadcom Foundation and the Society for Science & the Public.  

Why focus on renewable energy for the contest? Hutchinson told Business Insider that renewables are essential for fighting extreme weather conditions that have led to crises such as this year’s devastating Camp Fire in Northern California. “The smoke was so bad that thousands of schools all over the state had to be closed down because of the smoke,” she told Business Insider. “We’re seeing right now the effects of climate change, and the data-driven dual-axis solar tracker I built is designed to make solar energy more economical.”

Next up for Hutchinson: getting her invention patented.

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