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2015 Class Gift Hosts Open Competition for Solar Panel Designs

by Holly Semanchick (OS Alum)

Penn State’s class of 2015 voted to create a solar panel array as its contribution to the University, with overwhelming outside support. In order to address numerous inquiries and suggestions on the final design, the Class Gift Campaign and Office of Physical Plant (OPP) have begun a design competition to involve members of the University community in the process.

This open call will allows any member of the University community, including faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students, to visualize their own design for the solar panels. Teams must have at least one senior graduating in the 2015 year and not exceed more than 5 individuals.

Submissions should incorporate a rendering of the design in a proposed location, along with a written description of the team’s design and how it will assist in Penn State’s energy output. Each submission must also reference the impact of their design on Penn State and solar energy application at large.

Though a final location has not been determined, several location on campus have been suggested including the IST parking lot, Fisher Plaza in front of the Chambers building, and the Shields building parking lot, among other spots. Areas with high traffic volume or near historic landmarks or monuments are generally discouraged.

Submissions should consider a budget between $150,000 and $200,000 and the educational applications for their display.

A steering committee comprised of University professionals will oversee the process of selecting a winning design, in addition to securing a firm to implement the vision in line with Penn State priorities. Members of the steering committee are: Dwayne Rush, OPP Project Manager; Mike Prinkey, OPP Energy Advisor; Steve Watson, Campus Planning & Design; Jason Moore, OPP Energy Engineer; Gordon Turow, Director of Campus Planning & Design; Rob Cooper, Director of Energy & Engineering; Jeffrey Brownson, Professor of Energy & Mineral Engineering; and Geoff Hallett, Class Gift advisor.

The winning design team will join the other members of the steering and Class Gift committees in the development of the gift for the duration of the project.

The competition opened for submission on Feb. 22, 2015, and will accept proposals until March 31, 2015. Construction of the solar panel array is expected to be completed in April 2016.

More detailed information about the competition and submission requirements can be found here or by emailing advisor Geoff Hallett at [email protected].

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