Sunday, March 03, 2013

Solar Solutions on a Grand Scale

Wayne and I are very familiar with solar power up at the cabin. We've had our system in place for over ten years now.  It started small with just one panel and two 6-volt batteries to run a 12-volt system, but it's grown to three primary and four secondary panels, and 12 6-volt storage batteries. But in winter, we barely generate enough power to keep our few lights running, and cell phones and computers charged.

Here in Phoenix they boast over 300 sunny days a year.  What better place to use solar power.  And Arizona State University in Tempe has become a leader in photovoltaic technology and installations. And what better mascot to have than "Sparky."

Many buildings on campus are topped with solar panels, including the Wells Fargo Arena where we watched the women of USC win a basketball game over the Sun Devils. 

All together, they have 69 systems with over 95,000 panels.  Above is the climate controlled Verde Dickey Dome (The Bubble) that houses a practice football field when summer sun is scorching.

What better way to cap a multistory parking structures than with solar panels.  They provide shade for the top level while generating a portion of the university's 19.7 megawatt total.  That's impressive! We would love to have just a small portion of that capability!

Want a degree with an emphasis in photovoltaic power?  See what ASU has to offer. -- Margy


  1. Wow that is amazing! We intend to install solar panels but in winter I fear tht we will have the same problem as you x

  2. Walking around the ASU campus was amazing, and most of the panels were out of sight. We also saw lots of panels around town. Guess that's the way it is in sun country. Our panels do gather some power even on cloudy days, just not enough to keep up with our needs. Summer is a different thing. We have more power than we can use. The key factor is to have enough batteries for storage. We have to balance that with the weight on the float. You shouldn't have such a restriction with your big barge. - Margy