Sunday, October 16, 2005

Solar Energy Project



Ross Nizle, student at University of Vermont


The D350 Solar Energy Project was a concept I came up with shortly after purchasing renewable energy credits to offset any emissions resulting from the production of electricity. While I could offset the suite's impact, wouldn't it be even better if we could generate our own clean electricity?

With the idea of creating a system to meet the basic electrical needs of my Apple Powerbook G4, iPod, cell phone, and Palm Pilot, I researched and priced out a system, ordered it and set it up. The challenge with the system was not building a solar energy system, but where I was building it: in a college dorm room. I could not make any structual modications to the building, I had no power tools - or any tools, for that matter, and also knew that I would have move the system every few months. Everything I needed - tools included, needed to be purchased and I had to work around the needs of others that I lived with, as well as my own already busy schedule. Therefore, "Installation" is not only how I wired the project, but the adventures and trials I had to go through before I could even begin screwing planks together or connecting wires.

The "About the Project" has an overview of how I researched and built the system. "System setup" has a diagram of how the system is wired and how it functions, and the "Photos" page is self explanatory.

You can see the panel if you walk by the D-Building, it's on the balcony of our suite. If you are interested in seeing the system in greater detail, or have any questions about it, feel free to send me an e-mail at ross.nizlek@uvm.edu. As long as I'm free, I'm always welcome to having vistors come by and look at the system. It's purpose is to educate on the basics of small scale renewable energy generation as much as it is to generate clean electricty for my needs.

I would like to thank and highly recommend Sundance Solar for anyone else thinking of a similar project. Their materials, support and staff were excellent - without them, the D350 project would likely have been just another project shelved away in my mind, rather than a functioning energy generating system.

Also, for more solar energy links, you can check out UVM's 5kw solar electric system, with real time online monitoring.

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