Solar Fiesta logo

NMSEA presents the 7th Annual

Solar Fiesta!

Events for Kids and Teachers

Focus on Teachers

There are a number of free offerings for teachers this Solar Fiesta. Take advantage of the presentations and materials available to support you in teaching solar topics in science and math.

  Solar Energy Primer for Teachers

  Bus to PNM's Algodones PV Plant

For Kids

There are many activities for children to fill their day at this year's Solar Fiesta! Kids, challenge your knowledge and research skills with the Solar Scavenger Hunt. Take a class on solar energy, specifically for you. Build on what you learned by assembling a solar car and racing it (see next page). Create a solar art egg. Visit the BioVan. Participate in the Solar Project Contest (requires pre-Fiesta preparation), then embellish it for your science project for school!

  Solar Energy for Kids

  Solar Scavenger Hunt

  Solar Race Cars

  Solar Art Eggs

  Solar Projects

Solar Energy Primer for Teachers

Attend Ben Luce's "Solar Energy Primer for Teachers". Get the tips you need to teach solar subjects confidently. Ben will present one workshop per day.

The first portion of this presentation will be a photographic tour and introduction to the different types solar and wind energy technologies, including photovoltaics, concentrating solar power (utility scale solar), passive solar, solar cooking, etc. It will include basic science concepts associated with these technologies, cost and future cost projections, energy storage issues and transportation (electric cars, plug-in hybrids, electric bikes, etc.). Basic fact sheets and references for further information, such as NMSEA’s new renewable energy primer, will be distributed.

The second portion will consist of hands-on interaction with solar equipment, outside, with time for further questions and discussion. BRING A HAT! The equipment will include smaller items such as solar cookers, solar fountains, solar-powered toy cars and fuel cells as well as larger items such as full-sized photovoltaic and solar hot water systems.

Our appreciation is extended to Albuquerque Public Schools. Thanks to their generous support, these classes are free.

On your alternate day, visit the vendors, take in other workshops (see workshop prices), or attend additional sessions of the Solar Energy presentations for kids or teachers.

Bus to Algodones PV Plant for Tour

Tours of the PNM Solar Facility in Algodones are available Saturday and Sunday afternoons during the Solar Fiesta. Learn how New Mexico’s abundant sunshine and clear weather make photovoltaics a highly efficient and compatible alternative technology for our climate.

On Saturday, Albuquerque Public Schools is providing a bus for teachers with ID to the Algodones PV Plant. (Others can carpool; sign up at the NMSEA Booth. Carpooling is available for all, of course, on Sunday. Those who do not want to car-pool can meet in Algodones at 2:45.)

Transportation leaves at 2:15 and the tour will begin in Algodones at 2:45.

The tours will begin with a walk through the Solar Sunflowers where you can see the same PV technology available for installation at your home. Also, see a presentation on the PNM Net Metering and Small PV Renewable Energy Certificate Purchase Program to learn how to make installing a PV system more economically feasible. While you’re there at Algodones see the retired power plant to learn about electric generation, transmission, and distribution by viewing control rooms, turbines, transmission lines and substations.

Plan to be back at Solar Fiesta between 4:15 and 4:45pm.

Directions to PNM's Algodones PV Plant: From I-25, take Exit 248 at Algodones. At the end of the exit ramp, turn west and proceed about a half mile to the stop sign. Turn right on Highway 313 and proceed about a quarter mile to the Algodones Generating Station. Turn right at the chain link gate and follow the dirt road east to the parking area near the water tower.

Don't forget to bring your close-toed shoes, hat, water and snacks!

Solar Energy for Kids

From dinosaurs to power plants to electric cars, almost everything is powered by the sun - including you! Join us for a fun- and information-filled hour that will really charge up the next generation.

One of NMSEA's SunChaser instructors, Gary Vaughn, will present FREE solar energy classes, specifically for kids, during both days of the Solar Fiesta. Gary is a member of the NMSEA Board of Directors and a Licensed Professional Engineer.

Our appreciation is extended to Albuquerque Public Schools. Thanks to their generous support, these classes are free and open to kids, teachers, and young-minded adults accompanied by a kid.

Solar Scavenger Hunt

Kids, you will want to start your visit to the exhibits with a stop at the Kids Booth. The Kids Booth is located southwest of the Solar Array in the west parking lot. Pick up instructions there for participating in the Solar Scavenger Hunt! Gather clues as you visit booths throughout the Exhibit Areas and attend a "Solar Energy for Kids" class or classes. Return your completed Scavenger Hunt to the Kids Booth for a prize.

Build and Race a Solar Car

For a nominal fee, solar car kits are available on a first-come basis at the NMSEA Booth. Assemble the car for a class project and/or for racing at the Fiesta. There will be a supervised assembly area in the Kids Booth. After being assembled, a car can be adjusted as needed.

A variety of races will take place from 11:00AM to 1:00PM on both days:

  • First, cars will be raced four-per-heat in a timed race monitored by an insolation meter. The fastest cars will be run until the winners are determined.
  • There will be timed lap races on a rally oval track with a hill climb and a jumping ramp.
  • The final contest will be a demolition derby in a round arena where multiple cars will be started up all at once; the last car moving wins!

Winners will be awarded cash or prizes. A photograph will be added to NMSEA's web site and a news release will be sent out. There will be other awards and prizes for special characteristics of individual cars.

Solar Art Eggs

The Solar Ranch is donating blown duck eggs, glued to bases, along with brushes and watercolors for kids to make "Solar Art Eggs”. One egg per child until supplies run out...

Solar Projects

The solar community challenges students to a special contest. Prepare a solar project and display/present it in the Kid’s Area on Sept 23rd at the Solar Fiesta. The project should:

  • Have some aspect of solar incorporated into it: solar electricity, solar thermal (hot air, hot water), solar cooking or passive solar design (like the Anasazi).
  • Be ingenious.
  • Be original. It’s your project.
  • Build in interaction so you can share your idea with other students and adults.

Provide your own table, chairs and shade, if needed, for your display.

Once you have your solar project and intend to participate, ask your teacher to send an email to Ron Rioux at by Sept. 15th with your name, a brief description of your project, and a very brief explanation why your project should be displayed at the Solar Fiesta.

Don’t delay! Mentors are available upon your request. If you have any further questions, please contact us at or leave a message at 246-0400.

The Solar Fiesta Staff and APS’s Energy S.T.A.R.S program hope you join in and learn how solar can and will impact our future.