WASHINGTON (ABC7) — Joshua McCrea, 12, cares about the environment and wanted to know more about solar power.
"Instead of like using fossil fuels and other harmful oils, solar panels, it just uses the energy from the sun," he said.
To understand more about how the panels react to the sun in varying conditions, the Friendship Public Charter School Online student did a little investigating.
"I used a solar panel and multimeter and I attached those. I placed it outside where it would receive sunlight," McCrea said.
The January experiment yielded surprising results about how solar panels respond to outdoor temperatures.
"I found that the solar panel is more effective when it's colder outside and that surprised me," he said.
The project also impressed judges at the DC STEM Fair who awarded McCrea the top prize, but the seventh grader says there's more work to be done. His next step is to learn more about solar panels near trees.
"I'm going to be placing solar panels in a wooded area and seeing if that really helps it," he said.
McCrea is looking ahead to his next experiment and future career. After college, he hopes to become a child therapist while continuing to pursue his passion: environmental science.