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 sources Renewable energy sources
Coal Solar
Petroleum Wind
Natural gas Hydro
Nuclear Geothermal

Non-renewable energy comes from sources that cannot be renewed over a short period of time. 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. Non-renewable energy sources such as coal, oil, and natural gas generate harmful pollution and contribute to climate change when they are burned.

Renewable energy, in contrast, comes from sources that are replenished in a short period of time. 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. Finally, in some locations, rivers flow continuously to produce hydro energy. When renewable energy sources are used, they produce very little to no pollution or greenhouse gasses.

In this experiment, you will examine how a light bulb converts electrical energy to light energy. Light bulbs are usually sold according to the amount of electrical power they consume. You will investigate the relationship between the power rating of a light bulb and the amount of light it produces.


  • 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 equipment.
  • 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.

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
18Effect of Load on Solar Panel Output
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.

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