Louisiana Tech University recently received a $1.1 million “i6 Green Challenge” grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce to create new innovations and high-value service and manufacturing jobs in Louisiana. Students and graduates from the school’s College of Engineering and Science are already doing their part. Louisiana Tech alumni Matthew Macaluso and Connor Beech, as well as current senior engineering students, have designed and built a line of solar panels, which they claim are up to 20 percent more efficient than comparable modules, and capable of reducing the effects of shading.

The Louisiana Tech students also developed their own testing method to determine the panels’ power output. The team is collaborating with Solar Energy Supply of West Monroe, La., to develop their new line of “smart panel,” a 96-cell monocrystalline photovoltaic (PV) panel now available under the name Nu-Cell Technologies. The panels come with a standard 10-year product warranty and 25-year power output warranty. The company’s website and an internet search did not indicate whether the panels had yet received UL approval.

image via Solar Energy Supply

“From my experience, Louisiana Tech assists small businesses with services they may not be able to do for themselves whether it’s engineering or research development, media networking, or education on programs designed to help small business,” Macaluso said.  “Combined with the relationships developed with local companies, the value of Louisiana Tech within the community is evident.”

Les Guice, vice president for research and development at Louisiana Tech, said the partnership could benefit the entire northern Louisiana region, which has been hit hard by the economic downturn. “I have been impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit that has led to the growth of SES,” he said. “We are so pleased that they have looked to Louisiana Tech to capitalize upon the talents of our students and innovations of our faculty.”

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