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Friday, December 5, 2003
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Ohio University installs solar systems

By George Mauzy

Modern technology continues to play a major role at Ohio University. The University recently installed three solar-powered photovoltaic (PV) systems as part of a $16,000 project that has made the campus greener and more fiscally friendly.

solar panels"The solar systems take Ohio University another step closer to having a green campus and are very cost and energy efficient," said Vestar project manager Andy Sinozich. "As an added bonus, Ohio University students will use the systems as a learning lab."

The first solar system was incorporated into the roof at the Innovation Center on West State Street, which opened in July. The 4-kilowatt system makes use of 32 128-watt PV laminates to power the entire building.

In September, the University commissioned a 2.4-kilowatt PV system at the West Green District Chilled Water Plant. The system consists of an awning-mounted array of 48 50-watt PV panels donated by American Electric Power. The array is mounted on the side of the plant, which provides cold water and cooling for the Ohio University Athens campus.

"We are always exploring alternative sources of power, most recently solar and wind power," said Ted Fares, Ohio University director of engineering services and technical support. "Solar power is great because it's clean and 100 percent environmentally friendly."

Brian McCoy becomes the first solar-powered employeeThe third solar system installed was a small 330-watt system at Chubb Hall in November. It will supply power to Office of Admissions Administrative Assistant Brian McCoy's office and features six 55-watt panels. The system powers the lighting, computers and printers in the office and features a battery backup system.

Third Sun Solar and Wind Power, Ltd., an Athens company that recently became a client of Ohio University's Innovation Center, installed all three solar systems. The projects were funded by Vestar, the Foundation for Environmental Education, the Ohio Department of Development's Office of Energy Efficiency and the Chicago Regional Office of the Department of Energy and Ohio University Facilities Management.

"I anticipate these projects paying for themselves within 15 to 25 years," said Third Sun Solar and Wind Power owner Geoff Greenfield, who along with his wife, Michelle, are Ohio University graduates. "I look forward to working on more projects with Ohio University in the future, because it's a win-win situation for all parties involved."

The installment of the solar system in Chubb Hall room 215 was originally proposed by McCoy, who admits to having a keen interest in solar power thanks to his experience with greenhouses. Now that his office's system is in the test phase, McCoy says he is excited about being the first employee to work off of the University's electrical grid.

"After demonstrating to the University that solar power systems can be reliable and economically feasible, my hope is that this project leads to an increased usage of solar systems on campus," said McCoy. "The potential of this type of system is great and I'm thrilled to be able to assist Ohio University engineering students in learning more about solar systems, while also saving the University money in the long run."

George Mauzy is a media specialist with University Communications and Marketing.

Related Links: Visit the Campus Renewal Project Web site

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