Friday, March 4, 2011

Solar Arrives at Davis & Elkins College

Do you know this gazebo? This gazebo is a familiar feature to anyone who has spent time on the campus of Davis & Elkins College. My friends who went to school at D&E remember the gazebo by Tolstead Lake as a common meeting place.

The student organization GreenWorks! just finished working with PIMBY Energy to add lighting to the interior of the gazebo to extend its use beyond daylight hours. The dusk-to-dawn lighting system uses low-profile LED strips which consume about 36-watts of power combined. The light is warm, but not glaring.

GreenWorks! received a grant to install the lighting system which is powered by an 80W PV (solar) panel. The students assembled the components in early February, but we had to wait until yesterday for weather that would allow for the completion of the installation.

Professor Russ McClain, Director of the Center for Sustainability Studies, sponsors the GreenWorks! group and spent more than his fair time with a shovel at yesterday's install. Russ and Bethany are pictured above with the PV panel and the electronics that control the lighting.

One of the hardest parts of the install involved the transplanting of an azalea. Barry and Russ spent almost two hours carefully digging and replanting it.

February weather proved too cold and snowy for outside work. Instead, the GreenWorks! group (Jennifer, Matt, and Bonnie) assembled the electronics cabinet and mounted the PV panel to the cabinet rack.

The final product.......Instead of disappearing at dusk the gazebo now looks like a welcoming place. I really enjoyed this project. Most of my work involves powering homes or businesses with solar - this is the first gazebo that I have had the opportunity to electrify!

Thanks so much to all who helped to make it a good experience - Russ, Bonnie, Jennifer, The New Guy, Matt, David, Bethany, Bob, Barry.