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Notre Dame Receives Free 10 kW Solar Array

A flexible thin-film solar array and monitoring system has been installed on the rooftop of the University of Notre Dame's Fitzpatrick Hall of Engineering at no cost to the university.

The 10-kilowatt system was donated by Inovateus Solar as a demonstration model of two kinds of panels, each used in the array. All of the panels use thin-film solar technology and are attached directly to the roof's surface with an adhesive, but some are manufactured by Uni-Solar while others are produced by SoloPower.

"This project gives us the opportunity to demonstrate how flexible thin-film solar technology is installed and compare the performance of two different types of thin-film panels side-by-side," said Peter Rienks, project manager for Inovateus Solar.

The system will be connected to the university's power grid and will contribute approximately 12,000 kilowatt-hours annually to help meet Fitzpatrick Hall's electricity needs.

The solar array is the third rooftop energy project on the campus. In 2007 General Electric made a $500,000 in-kind product and services donation to the university in support of a photovoltaic solar array on the Stinson-Remick Hall of Engineering. This June the University mounted a wind turbine on the roof of the campus power plant.

The real-time monitoring system on the Fitzpatrick Hall installation will allow faculty and students to analyze the array's productivity under different conditions and compare it to the more traditional array at Stinson-Remick Hall.
Inovateus Solar was able to install the new system at no cost to Notre Dame with donations and discounted parts and labor from Uni-Solar, Solopower, SMA, Shoals, Midland Engineering, and Koontz-Wagner.

"This renewable energy project helps the University move toward its goal of reducing the carbon-intensity of its electricity production and will also serve as an important academic resource on campus," said Heather Christopherson, Notre Dame’s director of sustainability.

More information about Notre Dame's sustainability efforts can be found at green.nd.edu.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at jbolkan@1105media.com.

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