The University of Notre Dame in Indiana has installed a cutting-edge thin-film photovoltaic system on the College of Engineering’s Fitzpatrick Hall – and it got the system for free, thanks to donations from Inovateus Solar and other companies. The college will use the 10-kilowatt (kW) system as both a source of power and a tool for solar-power research and development. The system features two types of thin-film solar technology, each producing 5 kW of power, which the students and faculty can monitor for real-life demonstration of solar power systems.
Each panel features a new technology supplied by Inovateus. One is a peel-and-stick panel created by United Solar Ovonic of Rochester Hills, Mich., called the Uni-Solar PVL-144. The other is the SFX1-i3 210-watt panel by SoloPower, based out of San Jose, Calif., an emerging company. Both panels were donated by the suppliers and installed by Inovateus, which has provided solar installation for several other universities in Michigan and Kentucky.
Notre Dame has a long-term goal of energy use reduction and lower carbon emissions. The Fitzpatrick Hall installation, which will produce about 15,000 kilowatt-hours per year, or enough to power two homes, will be a step in attaining those goals, said Erin Hafner, program manager for the university’s Office of Sustainability.
Jurgen Krehnke, president and general manager of SMA America, a California-based company that participated in the installation by providing inverters, said that the project “provides a hands-on learning opportunity, while reducing the school’s power consumption and carbon footprint, this solar installation further elevates Notre Dame among academic universities.”