Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Solar Success

It's official: summer is here! Now that summer has arrived it's time to break out the sunscreen and head to the beach. Here at Seattle Pacific University, summer lends a chance to show off the recently completed photovoltaic solar panels soaking up the rays atop Otto Miller Hall.

A project initiated by 2009 graduate Kenzie Brister's senior honors project, the solar panels are designed both to serve a portion of the University's electricity needs and provide a learning tool for students interested in renewable energy. The panels were designed and installed by Ecotech, a company started by SPU alumnus Dana Brandt.

The solar panels are a step towards the University's goal of reaching eventual carbon neutrality and are designed to be phase one of three units ultimately gracing the rooftop of Otto Miller Hall. The panels are currently able to produce over 4000 watts of electricity and are set to produce the electricity needed to operate SPU's five electric maintenance vehicles. The energy output of the solar panels can be monitored by a meter installed on the second floor of Otto Miller Hall.

It is inspiring to see our University taking steps to become more reliant on clean and renewable energy. The recent events in the Gulf of Mexico have highlighted for us the issues surrounding energy. But the problems raised are not without answers. Solar energy promises to be part of the solution, and new technology is increasing solar's usefulness around the world. With every step towards clean energy we move one step closer to a more sustainable future.

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