– Florida Tech has installed 500 square-foot solar electric panels atop the F.W. Olin Engineering Complex as part of the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Million
Solar Roofs project. The 4.8 kw AstroPower SunLine, solar photovoltaic system will have a monthly output of about 1000 kwh of electricity to supplement
university power sources. The system’s primary use, however, is educational — teaching and research. Florida Tech’s system is the only installation in the
initiative in Brevard County.
“We will use the PV system for education and training,” said Dr. ‘Sharif’ Sharaf-Eldeen, Florida Tech associate professor of mechanical engineering, a
principal investigator on the project. “The data generated by the system will become available on the Internet. We will assist local teachers and students
in evaluating the data. Adjunct Professor Frank Leslie is one of the Florida Tech faculty members who will use the system in his Renewable Energy course
this semester. The system will also be used in a graduate class in solar energy.
Sharaf-Eldeen; Dr. Kunal Mitra, Florida Tech associate professor of mechanical engineering; and graduate student, Manish Jindal will develop models for
simulating the system’s electrical power output and that of other systems in Central Florida. They will assess the impact on the demand, generation, and
reliability of electric utilities.
The goal of the Million Solar Roofs initiative is to install one million solar energy systems on U.S. buildings by 2010. The project is intended to
strengthen demand for solar energy products and applications, help minimize greenhouse gases and other harmful emissions, and create high tech jobs.
The approximately $50,000 installation was funded by the State of Florida Energy Office through the Florida Solar Energy Center.