Physics Department


Solar Scholars

In November 2008, the Sustainable Energy Fund awarded $15,000 to the College to support the installation of two 1.6 kW solar photovoltaic arrays on the roof of Seegers Union. The arrays were erected during a week-long intensive course coordinated by Dr. Jane Flood. Twelve Muhlenberg students worked with solar installers Bill Hennessey, Jesse Waters and Vera Cole from the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association (MAREA) from building the supports to the completion of wiring during the week between finals and Commencement. Juniors Diana Ortiz and Kathleen Henley, and Dr. Flood are currently working to evaluate the performance of the arrays and to identify optimal settings to maximize electricity production.

Solar Scholars

SunnyPortal Data

Click the above link to see our solar arrays in action.

Student Work

Kathleen Henley & Diana Ortiz

This spring, Kathleen Henley and Diana Ortiz received two grants from Muhlenberg College in order to do research for eight weeks during the summer on the solar arrays installed on the roof of Seegers Union. After participating in the Solar Scholars PV Installation Workshop, Katie and Diana began their multidimensional research. They have been focusing on many different aspects of the arrays in order to learn as much about them as possible. Primarily, they were looking to see if the arrays function according to specification and will be comparing their data to data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in the future. They have began a project that includes changing the tilt and azimuth angles of the east array, the experimental array, and just the tilt angle of the west array, the control array, in order to see if there is a difference in energy created based on the orientation of the array relative to the sun. They are doing a more specific cost benefit analysis of Muhlenberg’s energy consumption habits in order to see if the college should consider purchasing more photovoltaic systems in the future. Their projects are going to be continued through until May 31st, 2010, and other projects are pending for the future.