Published at PO Box 96 124 W. St. Clair Romeo, MI 48065. Phone: (586)752-3524 Fax: (586)752-0548
Updated Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 3 PM EST
|Home||Sports||Community||What's Happening||Classifieds||News Summary|
|BEULAH DUNN||CLAIRE CARNEGIE|
|DANIEL McCUNE||DANIEL McCUNE|
|FRANK PICHLER||HERBERT "JIM" SEWELL|
|JAMES SZEWCZYK||JOHN TRIELOFF|
|LESLIE BRYAN||LORETTA HEAROLD|
|ROGER VANDECAPPELLE||WALLACE "BUD" CARL|
|Browse Full Text...|
Friday, 2 pm
Inserts Friday, Noon
Editorial Monday, Noon
Service Directory Display Monday, 2 pm
Service Directory Liners Monday, 3 pm
Classified Liners All Holiday Deadlines are One Full Workday Earlier
You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 09/19/12
A BRIGHT IDEA. Above, Joe Jarmoluk, 15, of Bruce Township designed and built a solar panel system for his family to charge and use technology. Jarmoluk submitted the system's designs and instructions to Instructables.com, where it won a prize for its innovation and originality. Below, Jarmoluk's system uses three solar panels and large automotive batteries to create and store power. The system can run anything 400 watts A/C or lower.
(Observer photos by Chris Gray)
RHS student wins contest
with solar power system
by CHRIS GRAYMost people are stuck waiting around for the power to come back on during an outage.
Observer Staff Writer
But for Joe Jarmoluk, 15, of Bruce Township, the thought of waiting to use his technology sparked an idea that has not only saved his family on electric bills, but was recognized for its innovation and usefulness.
Jarmoluk's homemade solar power system was chosen as one of 16 winners in Instructables.com's Green Tech contest.
Jarmoluk, a sophomore at Romeo High School, said the inspiration for the system was a desire to use technology like laptops and iPads during a power outage without using a generator.
"I spent hours on the Internet researching stuff," he said. "Starting off, I knew nothing about how electricity works."
Using money he saved up as well as some contributions from his parents, he designed and built a system utilizing three solar panels to generate energy and store it in automotive batteries.
Jarmoluk's system has a storage capacity of 276 amp hours, generates 130 watts at 12 volts D/C and powers anything 400 watts A/C or lower.
He decided to publish his plans to Instructables.com, a site dedicated to sharing do-it-yourself and how-to projects or recipes.
"Anybody could build it," he said. "You need a basic electrical knowledge, which you can probably learn from the Internet<at least that's how I learned it."
Along with viewer feedback, he received a notification that the project was eligible for the site's Green Tech challenge. The contest asked people to submit projects that reduce energy usage for modern technology, so he decided to submit his plans.
A total of 116 entries were submitted and judged on originality, usefulness, simplicity and clarity of instructions. On July 31, Jarmoluk was named one of 16 finalists, and on Aug. 9 the site announced he was one of five first place winners.
"I was so over-excited, I was beating (out) adults," Jarmoluk said. "I just couldn't believe it."
For winning first place, Jarmoluk received a GOAL ZERO Escape Scout 150 Power Pack and a 15-watt solar panel. Combined, the devices retail for $360.
His parents, Walt and Geralyn, are happy and proud of Jarmoluk's accomplishment as well as his willingness to post it online.
"What's neat is he put it out there just to make others aware so maybe others can do something similar in their homes to use less energy," Geralyn said.
The system proved invaluable when the family plugged its back-up sump pump into it before going on vacation. Walt said the power went out while they were gone and the system helped prevent the basement from flooding.
"The way he's got it set up is it can go on indefinitely, he generates enough power where if the power goes off it'll still keep the basement dry," Walt said.
The family also uses the system to power small appliances, pathway lights and even use it to power their Christmas lights for free.
"We live in the country, it doesn't make sense to pay a high electrical bill for some lights," Jarmoluk said.
The project has proven to be popular amongst visitors. As of Sept. 14, Jarmoluk's page has received 46,316 views.
His next projects will be to further upgrade his system as well as looking into a wind generator. For now, though, he hopes he'll be around to witness the next major outage to see his system in action.
"I don't know if I jinxed it or something, but we have never had a power outage over five, 10 seconds that we've been home for," he said.
To view Jarmoluk's project, visit www.instructables.com/id/home-built-solar-power-system.