GE donates solar panels for new engineering building

Author: William G. Gilroy


The University of Notre Dame today announced that General Electric will present a $500,000 in-kind product and services contribution associated with a solar power system array and supporting infrastructure that will be incorporated into the Universitys new Stinson-Remick Hall of Engineering. Final specifications for the photovoltaic array will be completed and installed in 2008 in anticipation of the 2009 completion of the new engineering facility.

Construction on the $69.4 million building will begin next month. To be located on Notre Dame Avenue, the 142,000-square-foot facility will house a nano technology research center, the Universitys new Energy Center, an 11,800-square-foot semiconductor processing and device fabrication clean room, and an undergraduate interdisciplinary learning center.

“There are a number of reasons we are excited about this contribution,said Joan Brennecke, Keating-Crawford Professor of Chemical Engineering and director of the Notre Dame Energy Center.Perhaps most exciting is its potential impact on our students. They will be able to explore the nature of energy and energy options while incorporating it into their studies and their lives.”

Though still in the design stages, the solar panel system is rated at 50 kW and will provide an estimated 55,000 kilowatt-hours of carbon free electricity annually. The power will be fed into inverters and connect to the main electrical switchgear in the building, thereby allowing the electricity to flow into the buildings system grid.

With more than 400 Notre Dame alumni, GE is proud to make a donation that will promote awareness of clean technology solutions, and support the Universitys goal to expand and enhance the learning opportunities for our future technical leaders,said Lorraine Bolsinger, vice president for ecomagination at GE.This contribution provides the students an immediate opportunity for exploration and practical experience, including future engineering curriculum expansion, as they solve the energy issues of the next generation.

GE is working with the University to ensure that the technical requirements needed for the array will be incorporated into the building during the construction process. This will ensure that the most current technology is being used when the panels are installed.

The solar panel array will be monitored by a system in the College of Engineerings new learning center, where undergraduates will be able to track the energy being generated. This also will provide faculty with the opportunity to build course curricula around the system.

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