Sustainability minor and major students want to create a solar-powered energy microgrid for Florida Tech.
“It all started when the construction management team came to us for help with their student design project. They asked us to design a solar photovoltaic (PV) system that could run everything in the Academic Quad. They wanted it to be done with renewable energy,” said mechanical engineering major Aasav Harania who is also minoring in sustainability.
The goal with this collaboration is to provide a comprehensive remodeling plan so the Academic Quad can earn LEED Certification. This certification is one of the most respected green building rating accreditations in the U.S. A couple of Florida Techs’ buildings have earned LEED certification. The goal is to have student involvement at the design and development phase, all the way to implementation.
“With the rising expense of electricity we were able to optimize the amount of energy produced to cost 6.27 cents per kilowatt hour (KWh) without added incentives, which is less than the current university rate of 9 cents per KWh,” said Harania.
By avoiding substantial upfront investments and examining alternative funding, the team expects a 10-year payback period for the PV system. They have determined the system will ultimately save the university over one million dollars.
“We are aiming to produce enough energy to produce about 50 percent of Florida Tech Main Loop Energy. This will allow Florida Tech to have its own Sustainable Energy Microgrid.”
Harania, along with Daniel Olivia and Michael Garofalo presented their plan at the 2017 Northrop Grumman Engineering and Science Student Design Showcase. They took home best in show for sustainability.
“This project would put Florida Tech on the map as one of the first to have a large scale solar power plant. This will help the university achieve LEED Certifications,” said Harania.