New Centennial Campus Solar Panels to be Used for Green Grid Research

Newly installed solar panels on a roof of one of the buildings on NC State University's Centennial Campus will be used to study how to integrate alternative technologies with the current electrical grid.
By: Gene Pinder
Sept. 8, 2010 - PRLog -- Green grid research just got a boost on NC State’s Centennial Campus.

Research scientists with the Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management (FREEDM) Systems Center intend to use a recently installed solar system on the roof of one of the research park’s newest buildings to study how distributed renewable energy can be tied to the current electrical grid. The FREEDM Center, under the leadership of NC State’s College of Engineering, is the first National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded research center to focus on distributed energy and is supported by an initial five-year $18.5 million grant from the NSF and industry sponsors. The goal of the center is to tackle the technological challenges associated with decentralization and integration of the nation’s power grid with wind, solar and other alternative energy sources.

The 268 panels sit atop the Keystone Science Center, a 70,000-square foot multi-tenant building, which houses the FREEDM Center. The 40 kW, ballasted rooftop solar system, which took three weeks to install, is forecasted to generate around 52,000 kWh of energy annually for the building. The entire solar system consists of 186 photovoltaic (PV) modules and four solar inverters. The solar inverters transition the direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) for immediate use throughout the building and for specific research projects. In addition, the installation incorporates a monitoring system to feed real-time energy generation data to the FREEDM Systems Center engineers. accordance with North Carolina codes, the tilted, non-affixed panels are wind-rated for up to 95 miles per hour. FREEDM will have the ability to use the power directly as designed or set up experiments to use the system as part of its research focus. Eventually, the FREEDM Center will operate a fully operational 1kW green energy hub in the building, which will demonstrate the plug-and-play capabilities of a distributed, green grid system.

The solar system was designed and installed by AEG Power Solutions (AEG PS), a Netherlands-based provider of solar solutions for commercial buildings.

“We’re very excited to have the solar panels up and running,” says Ewan Pritchard, FREEDM Systems Center director of industry, collaboration and innovation. “With AEG’s contribution, we can now start testing a number of different scenarios and accelerate our research.”

About FREEDM Center
The Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management (FREEDM) Systems Center is a National Science Foundation (NSF) Generation-III Engineering Research
Center (ERC) established in 2008 with the mission to develop the fundamental and enabling technologies necessary for a new and paradigm shifting power grid infrastructure, the FREEDM System. The center involves more than 50 professors and one hundred fifty graduate and undergraduate students from five US universities and two international universities, as well as more than sixty companies and national laboratories. in 28 states and nine countries. The FREEDM intends to build a 1 Mw green energy hub, which will demonstrate the plug-and-play capabilities of the distributed system. The Center is under the leadership of NC State’s College of Engineering.

About Centennial Campus and NC State
Centennial Campus is an internationally recognized 1,314-acre research park and technology campus owned and operated by NC State. Home to more than 60 corporate, government and non-profit partners, such as Red Hat, ABB, and the USDA, collaborative research projects vary from nanofibers and secure open systems technology to green grid energy and biomedical engineering. Four university college programs also have a significant presence on campus – College of Engineering, College of Veterinary Medicine, College of Textiles and the College of Education. NC State is one of the top research universities in the country, with expenditures in research approaching more than $325 million annually. The university ranks third among all public universities (without medical schools) in industry-sponsored research expenditures.

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Centennial Campus a research park and campus located at NC State University and has become a major hub of research activity associated with smart grid energy, biotechnology and life sciences, materials science, veterinary medicine, and nanotechnology.
Source:Gene Pinder
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Tags:Green Grid, Solar Energy, Solar Panels, Distributed Energy, Alternative Energy, Research Park, Centennial Campus
Industry:Alternative energy, Environment, Solar energy
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