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Greenhouse, solar-panel construction begins: New educational tools to result

Construction has begun on a new SPSU greenhouse beside the Engineering Technology Center (ETC), and two sets of new solar panels have been installed to power it, thanks to 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 and used it to benefit the university’s students and faculty. The grant paid for two-thirds of the cost of the solar panels.


The roof of the ETC has a new set of solar panels that are rated at 10 kW (equivalent to 170 household light bulbs). An additional 5 kW set (equivalent to 85 household light bulbs) has been installed beside the greenhouse. Together they will provide the structure with lights, heat (in the winter) and electricity. The panels – 6 feet high, 42 feet long, 7 1/2 feet wide – are capable of supplying all the electrical power the greenhouse will need during daylight hours.


Dr. Tom Nelson, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, said “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 solar panels on the roof of the ETC provide an operational laboratory for students and faculty as we further develop courses and programs in renewable energy engineering technologies,” said Dr. Jeff Ray, dean of the School of Engineering Technology and Management. “The collaboration between the university and its external partners is one of our highlighted achievements at SPSU.”


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.