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.


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