Solar Energy: suddenly competitive and attractive


Rolling blackouts and power alerts in California, combined with staggering natural gas costs in the east have suddenly made solar energy an attractive option.

Dr. Evangelos Hadjimichael, dean of the School of Engineering at Fairfield University, has integrated the study of alternative forms of energy into the curriculum.

Three years ago engineering seniors at Fairfield designed a solar-powered home. This year the engineering students and faculty oversaw and are monitoring the largest single installation of solar electric shingles in the United States, which are helping to provide energy to an the eight-unit townhouse building on campus. The 14.5-kilowatt system is made up of three side-by-side systems that:

1. reduce the occupants' electric energy bill
2. act as a backup system for two units in case of power failure
3. help at times to send surplus energy to some United Illuminating customers and
4. act as an educational and research tool.

The Fairfield University building was highlighted this fall by PACE (People's Action for Clean Energy) during its Fall Solar Tour which honored Connecticut's solar pioneers.

To speak with Dr. Hadjimichael, please call (203) 254-4000, ext. 4147. For assistance, please call Nancy Habetz, director of media relations, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on January 22, 2001

Vol. 33, No. 127