Students can see their green fee money at work, converting sunlight into energy. New solar panels have been installed on the roof of the Challenger STEM Learning Center.
Photovoltaic (PV) systems use solar electric panels to directly convert the sun’s energy into electricity.
“This conversion of sunlight to electricity occurs without moving parts, is silent and pollution free in its operation. It is a renewable energy source that will supply the estimated electrical load for teaching within the Challenger Center,” said Danny West, facilities planning and management.
The system collects and stores data such as current power being produced, total energy produced, CO2 prevention, and current irradiance (a measure of power available from the sun).
“It can also be used as a teaching tool in itself, as it will have a wall-mounted display inside the public area of the Challenger STEM Learning Center. In the spirit of the intent of the student green fee, the project will help the campus evaluate the feasibility of future solar projects such as larger photovoltaic arrays and solar heating,” said West.
The 7kw photovoltaic array is being funded in part by the Environmental Task Force and GreenSpaces. Facilities Planning and Management will keep a record of the ongoing performance of the system.
One of the goals of the Environmental Task force is the development of educational and outreach programs regarding environmental awareness and energy conservation.
“The members of the task force felt that the implementation of the solar panels fit well within this mission and would provide an educational opportunity for not only our students but visiting elementary school age students,” said Dee Dee Anderson, Chairperson of the Environmental Task Force Committee.