By: Lee McClenon
Notice: You can now track the energy output of our new solar panels by following this link!
When walking down to the gym you might notice something new in the scenic vista of landscaping along Cambrian Row. On Monday the college installed its first solar panels!
The panels were chosen with the help of calculations done by senior math major Alisha Pradhan this summer. The large 12 panel set has a maximum power of 2820 watts and a smaller 2 panel set has the potential power of 570 watts. Both will be used to power lighting in SGA house. With an expected lifetime of 30 years and payback time on the initial investment estimated at 20 years improvements to solar technology have allowed the panels to be a sound investment. Although the north east does not have as many hours of strong daylight as some parts of the country, an expert from the Green Energy company says that the lower temperatures here should extend the overall lifetime of the product. In fact, New Jersey has the second largest amount of solar energy creation, after California.
The hill below Cambrian Row is south facing, making it the best for solar production. It is also one of the most scenic views on campus, fulfilling the secondary goal of the solar panel project: education. Facilities purposefully chose a ground level placement so that people can see the technology up close. Two panels, separated from the rest, are fully adjustable and will be able to be used by physics classrooms for experiments. Assistant director of facilities Jim McGaffin said that solar is still a developing kind of energy and so “a college campus is a good place to showcase the technology and inspire people”. One day it may be a Mawrtyr who helps to develop the next set of improvements to this technology.
The panels are already generating energy. Within the next week they will be connected to the internet so that those interested can track the energy creation! What do you think about the new solar array? Are solar panels a viable energy source for your home where you live?