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Renewable Energy Puzzle Application

Puzzle games are a great way for kids to work on their problem solving skills. What if we could design a game that could show how PV solar systems work and how to design them?

Photo of Natalie Lake

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Currently beautifully designed games like Monument Valley are making a huge splash in the cellphone game world. What if we could design a puzzle game which helped children to understand photovoltaic solar systems and help them design their own PV solar systems.

Puzzle games increase innovation, and problem solving skills in kids. Similar to games where kids connect different types of pipe to get water from a well to a pump, we could design a game where kids get energy from the sun to a house. The player would choose how many panels they need, type of battery, and they would choose appropriate inverters and charge controllers to complete their system.

While this may sound incredibly difficult, the entire configuration would be one of the later levels of the game. The game would start of simply by simple connecting panels directly to the grid for example and would teach them how to match the number of panels necessary to the house's electricity need. Then in the next batch of levels, they could add in a charge controller and inverter to help protect their system. Finally in the more complex levels they would choose battery size.

Community! What do you guys think of this idea? Do you think its too complicated? I think middle school age on could potentially work this game. it could also be a fun educational game that environmental science teachers ask their students to play? (Wouldn't that be a super fun homework assignment!) 

Perhaps the object of the game could be something like "save the polar bears from global warming by reducing our CO2 emission" and for each level you pass you could save a polar bear? 

Possibly making the game have a financial aspect. User can save money through using renewables which they can use on future maintenance of their system and upgrading their house (like FarmVille.)


Unfortunately, the link to the application expires after each person views. I instead posted a video walkthrough of the application above to give you guys an idea of how the game will work. I am looking for any and all feedback! Thank you OpenIDEOers!


What community does this idea benefit and who are the main players?

This would mainly benefit developed countries where ipad, smartphone use is high amongst youth. We could also make a computer version that could be played in areas who don't use smartphones, ipads etc as prevalently. I think this game is too complicated for kids under the age of middle school (so 12+.) Education level will be some math skills necessary and definitely literacy.

How does your idea specifically help your community rapidly transition to renewables?

In order for our world to rapidly transition towards renewables, we first need to create awareness and improve education. Children are the future of this revolution and so focusing on their educational needs will only improve the chances of this revolution taking flight in the near future. Getting children interested in STEM fields (especially Environmental STEM jobs) is crucial for the rapid development of this industry.

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

I have no app development experience so I would love if someone who does wouldn't mind joining my team. Otherwise, I think I could definitely create a paper version and test it out on a group of kids.

What skills, input or guidance are you keen to connect with from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea further?

App developers! I really need your help on this. I have no experience designing and programming apps. I would really love some team members with experience programming apps and who are interested in my idea. Other than that, I would appreciate any and all input! Do you guys think that this would be feasible?

Please indicate which type of energy is most relevant to this post:

  • Solar

This idea emerged from:

  • An Individual


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Photo of Gabe Dominguez

Hi Natalie, this is a really awesome idea for a game. Did you ever get past the prototype stage? 

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