A state-of-the-art solar array used primarily for learning and research has been installed on Knoy Hall’s rooftop. The new 28-panel array replaces a 24-panel system installed 17 years ago. The new solar photovoltaic array, comprised of panels each roughly the same physical size as those previously installed, will generate nearly three times more electricity than the old array despite expanding by only four panels.
Achieving lower energy consumption goals in high performance buildings will be possible only when the people who use those buildings have high energy literacy, says Bill Hutzel, professor of mechanical engineering technology. The work he and his students are doing in the Applied Energy Laboratory can help.
Knoy Hall of Technology is now generating a portion of its own electricity via solar photovoltaic arrays on its roof. It is the first building on Purdue’s academic campus to have this capability.
"We have grid-tied the solar panels to Knoy Hall which allows the building to use the generated electricity," said Terance Harper, a graduate student in mechanical engineering technology. "If there is an excess, it will be pushed to Purdue’s electrical grid."
Purdue faculty, including Bill Hutzel, associate professor of mechanical engineering technology, will work with the University of the West Indies and Partners of the Americas to foster clean energy deployment across the Caribbean and Central America.
Building on expertise at the two universities, the project will develop a solar energy demonstration site at UWI's St. Augustine campus in Trinidad and Tobago. The U.S. State Department's Regional Environmental Office in San Jose, Costa Rica, and the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs are funding the 18-month effort.