US greenhouse to be powered with solar alone
By Treena Hein
Solar panels alone will power a new greenhouse at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Georgia.
The rooftop solar panels are powered at 10 kW (equivalent to 170 household light bulbs). An additional 5 kW (equivalent to 85 household light bulbs) set has been installed beside the greenhouse.
Together they will provide the structure with lights, winter heat and electricity. The panels – six feet high, 42 feet long, seven and a half feet wide – are capable of supplying all the electrical power the greenhouse will need during daylight hours.
The greenhouse is to be located beside the Engineering Technology Center (ETC), and the solar panels have been paid for through a grant from the city of Marietta.
Marietta Power and Water, SPSU’s electrical service provider, contacted the university about a grant for a small teaching installation on campus. The utility company had a small amount of grant money remaining and used it to benefit the university’s students and faculty.
Dr. Tom Nelson, dean of the University’s School of Arts and Sciences, said that “because the greenhouse and solar panels are readily accessible, they will provide opportunities for student research on alternative energy and also educational opportunities for classes and community workshops.”
The landscape around the greenhouse and solar panels will be designed to match the landscaping around the ETC. Students in the biology, biotechnology and environmental science programs will benefit from the greenhouse.
The University’s press release on the topic is located here.