More power and cleaner too

Suitable for Year Levels 7–8

Watch this video resource on printable solar panels with Dr Scott Watkins.

Dr Watkins describes how solar panels can now be cheaply printed on flexible materials. If we attach these to every available surface that sunlight hits, we could be producing more electricity.

  • Think of three places where these flexible solar panels could be installed
  • Choose one of these ideas and make a drawing, a model from recycled materials or a 3D digital design to communicate your concept. Share back with us on social media!

From your own research:

  • What does it mean for an energy source to be renewable or non-renewable?
  • List some energy sources that are non-renewable.
  • List some energy sources that are renewable
  • Check with the bill payer in your household. What percentage of your household power comes from renewable and what percentage comes from non-renewable sources? Some electricity bills can tell you this or the information may be on the website of the energy retailer.
The Hon. Robin Scott, Assistant Treasurer and The Hon. Lily D'Ambrosio, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, on the Melbourne Museum roof among the 2,700 new solar panels.

Still Curious?

See what experts think the future could look like in medicine, food, building and more in other Think Ahead expert videos.


Victorian Curriculum Links

Science Levels 7 & 8

Earth and space sciences

  • Some of Earth’s resources are renewable, but others are non-renewable (VCSSU100)

Science as a Human Endeavour

  • Scientific knowledge and understanding of the world changes as new evidence becomes available; (VCSSU089)
  • Science and technology contribute to finding solutions to a range of contemporary issues; (VCSSU090)

Science Inquiry Skills, Communicating (VCSIS113)

Design and Technologies Levels 7 & 8

Technologies and Society

  • Examine and prioritise competing factors including social, ethical, economic and sustainability considerations in the development of technologies and designed solutions to meet community needs for preferred futures (VCDSTS043)
  • Investigate the ways in which designed solutions evolve locally, nationally, regionally and globally through the creativity, innovation and enterprise of individuals and groups (VCDSTS044)

Creating Designed Solutions, Generating

  • Generate, develop and test design ideas, plans and processes using appropriate technical terms and technologies including graphical representation techniques (VCDSCD050

Critical and Creative Thinking Levels 7 & 8

Questions and Possibilities

  • Synthesise information from multiple sources and use lateral thinking techniques to draw parallels between known and new solutions and ideas when creating original proposals and artefacts (VCCCTQ034)


  • Consider a range of strategies to represent ideas and explain and justify thinking processes to others (VCCCTM040)


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