Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Renewable Energy: Why is it So Important?

Figure from experiment 1 from Renewable Energy with Vernier


We all use energy—to travel to school, charge electronics, turn on lights, and even to fill a cup with water. Where does this energy come from? Energy sources fall into two categories: non-renewable and renewable.

Non-renewable energy comes from sources such as coal, natural gas, and petroleum, which are finite and cannot be replaced in a short time period. For example, all the petroleum we use today was formed hundreds of millions of years ago. Any petroleum we might try to make today would not be ready for millions of years. When used, non-renewable energy sources generate pollutants and contribute to climate change.

Renewable energy sources, in contrast, are replenished in a short period of time. Solar, wind, and hydroelectric energy are considered renewable. In some places, the sunshine provides usable solar energy on most days. In other regions, the wind blows regularly, making it possible to reliably generate energy from the wind. If people live close to a large river, they may be able to use a dam to produce hydroelectric energy throughout the year. When renewable energy sources are used, they produce little to no pollution.


  • List examples of non-renewable and renewable energy sources and describe the differences between them.
  • Learn about energy conversion.
  • Gain familiarity with a Light Sensor and data-collection software.
  • Calculate the reduction of carbon dioxide production when using renewable energy sources to generate electricity in place of non-renewable energy sources.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Option 1

Option 2

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Renewable Energy with Vernier

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Renewable Energy: Why is it So Important?
2What is Energy?
3Project: Energy Audit
4Voltage and Circuits
5Current and Resistors
6Mechanical Power
8Exploring Wind Turbines
9Effect of Load on Wind Turbine Output
10Blade Variables and Power Output
12Turbine Efficiency
13Power Curves
14Power and Energy
15Project: Maximum Energy Output
16Project: Build a Wind Farm
17Exploring Solar Panels
18AEffect of Load on Solar Panel Output
18BFill Factor and IV Curve of a Solar Panel
19Variables Affecting Solar Panel Output
20Effect of Temperature on Solar Panel Output
21Project: Build a Solar Charger
22Exploring Passive Solar Heating
23Variables Affecting Passive Solar Heating
24Exploring Solar Collectors
25Variables Affecting Solar Collectors
26Project: Solar Cooker

Experiment 1 from Renewable Energy with Vernier Lab Book

<i>Renewable Energy with Vernier</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

Buy the Book

Dev Reference: VST0661

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