Analysis of Solar Energy Generation, Demand and Consumption: A College Solar Classroom study in Pace University Campus-Blog #2

My name is Ariana Abramson, and I am currently working with Dr. Winkler on the 2012-2013 Pace University research initiative. The title of the project is “Analysis of Solar Energy Generation, Demand and Consumption: A College Solar Classroom study in Pace University Campus”. We will be using the newly installed solar classroom located on the Pleasantville Campus to analyze energy consumption and solar energy generation. There are four solar panels currently located on the roof of the classroom were provided by Con Edison and currently generates 1.5kW of energy.

Thus far we have been able to receive batch files of data from the White Plains data center to analyze the solar energy usage. The data we have been receiving has been organized into excel documents and from there we hope to examine it more closely. We are also still in the process of making the data real-time, so we can have more data points to work with when examining the information. We would like to measure how much electricity is generated and consumed, especially in terms of seasonal, academic, and daily changes. These findings will give us a better understanding of the demand for energy and how that demand can be met with an alternative energy source.

From the various data points we have received, we are able to pin point the exact temperature, high and low, outside of the cottage at various times throughout a specific day. We are also able to create an estimate from the temperatures given, the amount of solar energy being used to supplement for the existing weather conditions. If we continue to observe the weather patterns and the differences in energy consumption, we will be able to create advanced projections of energy consumption in a classroom. For example, referring to the month of August, we can look at the data points and see a slight increase in the amount of energy usage as the month was coming to an end. Due to the amount of people using the room and the change in temperature, it is reasonable to assume that as more people began to come back to campus, more energy was needed to supplement for the increased demand.

From the data we have been collecting, we would like to see the differences in energy consumption when faced with weather abnormalities, such as the recently passed Sandy super storm. We also like to know if in a given day, the demand for energy can change regardless of the weather and more specifically on other extraneous variables. Because measuring consumption can be tricky due to the differences in the people using the classroom or the time of day, we hope to create a model that can be used regardless of different variables that may be in place.

Analysis of Solar Energy Generation, Demand and Consumption: A College Solar Classroom study in Pace University Campus-Blog #1

My name is Ariana Abramson, and I am currently working with Dr. Winkler on the 2012-2013 Pace University research initiative. The title of the project is “Analysis of Solar Energy Generation, Demand and Consumption: A College Solar Classroom study in Pace University Campus”. We will be using the newly installed solar classroom located on the Pleasantville Campus to analyze energy consumption and solar energy generation. There are four solar panels currently located on the roof of the classroom were provided by Con Edison and  currently generates 1.5kW of energy. The objective of this project is to investigate the classroom’s electricity usage in terms of energy demand and consumption. The measurement of demand and consumption will be related to various student activities and natural causes, such as weather. Throughout the study, we hope to deploy a real-time accessible dashboard that members of the Pace community can use to view the energy data, to also analyze what attributes to consumption factors, and to provide an energy education instrument in the college environment. We expect to uncover features of a solar classroom that will aid in the advocacy of alternative energy use. We would like to measure how much electricity is generated and consumed, especially in terms of seasonal, academic, and daily changes. These findings will give us a better understanding of the demand for energy and how that demand can be met with an alternative energy source.

In terms of the economy, our natural resources are extremely scare, and in an effort to preserve the biosphere, the citizens of world have to begin researching an alternative energy source as a way to be sustainable. Throughout this research, we expect to achieve not only an idea of how fundamentally critical it is to be self-sustaining, but to also give a model of the financial benefits that come from sustainability. We are working to make the data real-time and have the data continuously read into a database. This data will then be graphed to measure the difference in the energy usage in different temperatures, semesters, and weather changes. We will also measure the difference in energy cost, if the classroom were to just rely on electrical generation without the solar panels, and the difference once the solar panels were introduced.  The excel software package in the Microsoft Suite edition will be used.

We also hope to launch a website, where the energy information will be easily accessible and also give tips on how to decrease energy usage in daily lives.  Alone, Americans consume 26% of the world’s energy and our demand is continuously growing by about 3% per year. It is apparent, that if we depend on fuels like oil, coal, and gas alone, the world will not be able to sustain us for generations to come. This project is a small step for Pace University to not only become aware of its global footprint, but to also work towards becoming a more sustainable campus. Not only will the sustainability help the US in its campaign to go green, but it will also help the students and the administration. If we can prove how beneficial the solar panel can be in the classroom, we can make an argument that more of solar panels need to be installed throughout the campus.