Seeing Power Work: The Mount Opens its Solar-powered Charging Station and Exhibit
Emmitsburg, Maryland - One of the Mount’s newest projects gave students much more than an educational experience as they used the newly installed solar-powered charging station to juice-up their laptops and mobile devices during a brief campus-wide winter storm power outage in January.
The charging station is located outside the School of Natural Science and Mathematics, and is part of an exhibit which continues inside Coad Hall. The outside area, protected under the canopy of the 8-feet tall solar panel array, provides shade and weather protection with picnic tables, educational displays and a charging station for portable electronic devices – completely powered by solar energy. Inside, the exhibit area contains an additional charging area, a real-time display of the energy produced by the 100-acre solar array on east campus, and information about renewable energy.
“The purpose of these exhibits is to educate our campus community and our visitors about the importance of using renewable energy sources,” said Jeffrey A. Simmons, dean for the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. “This array is a practical way people can observe the transformation of the sun’s energy into clean, direct power we can use.”
This project is a collaborative effort involving the Mount’s Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability Committee, Constellation, the Development Office, President Thomas H. Powell, the School of Natural Science and Mathematics and Physical Plant (Aramark). Funding for the project was provided by Constellation which owns and operates the 16.1-megawatt solar installation which serves the state of Maryland.
“Constellation is proud to support this project with Mount St. Mary’s University,” said Gary Fromer, senior vice president, energy management programs, for Constellation. “Providing opportunities to learn about renewable resources is vital to achieving clean energy and environmental goals.”
Additionally, Constellation developed and operates the1.6-megawatt solar installation that supplies clean energy for the Mount’s Academic Recreation Convocation Center (ARCC), as well as a 300 kilowatt system that serves the Mount’s waste water treatment plant.
The charging station array can generate a maximum of 1.6 kilowatt hours, or enough to charge about 50 laptops or 300 mobile phones. The electricity from the panels is stored in batteries located in Coad Hall which supply power to the inside and outside charging areas.