Creighton University, in an effort to harness the wind and sunlight of Nebraska, is assembling a large-scale solar panels array and wind turbines throughout its campus locations.
This $1.4 million alternative energy project is part of a novel degree program offered to students pursuing applied science and technology in the College of Arts and Sciences. Out of the $1.4 million, $1.14 million is likely to be provided through federal funds as requested by Sen. Ben Nelson and Rep. Lee Terry. This project is a joint initiative with Omaha Public Power District (OPPD). In its efforts to encourage renewable energy, the U.S. Department of Energy will provide the funds. Moreover, a surplus $1.2 million is likely to be funded for developing the degree program’s curriculum.
The project will commence with thin-film photovoltaic cells being installed on certain parts of the rooftop of the Kiewit Fitness Center. A 16-foot tall, 20-foot wide, pole-mounted solar tracker panel is likely to be set up on the Lied Education Center. Four wind turbines are also likely to be set up on the Lied Education Center. The electrical energy produced from the wind turbines and the tracker panel will be utilized by the Lied Education Center.
The photovoltaic cells for this project will be provided by four different manufacturers, giving an opportunity for Creighton students to examine and compare the panels. The panels are likely to be set up in a frame which enables updating and changing the panels over time. In order to achieve optimum efficiency, the fixed panels are likely to be set up at an angle of 37 degrees.
Students undertaking the atmospheric sciences program can track the panel’s efficiency by means of a weather station, utilizing computerized weather models designed by the students.