Inovateus Solar, University Team Up for Education

South Bend, Ind., December 22, 2009 — Inovateus Solar, a leading distributor of cutting-edge energy products, is pleased to be supplying modern photovoltaic solar panels to Grand Valley State University’s 136,000-square-foot athletic facility. Inovateus Solar is also monitoring two other environmentally friendly features in the certified LEED gold building.

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The facility, which opened last year, has an artificial-turf football practice field surrounded by a 300-meter track. It’s used for practice, intramurals, recreation and a movement science course at the school.

Inovateus collects data from the photovoltaic roof tiles, a geothermal system and a solar thermal wall for preheating exchange air. The data is used both for academic analysis and for education of lay people who discover the benefits of the systems in a kiosk or on a website.

“The monitoring is a value-added service from Inovateus Solar,” says Bob Rupholdt, Director of Operations. Grand Valley had worked with Inovateus earlier to provide Uni-Solar on the curved roof of another building, so they came back for work on the new building.

 “We did the solar up on the roof,” Rupholdt says. “They’re using the PV to generate electricity which technically would go back to the grid except that this building will utilize everything they create, so they won’t see anything from that side of it.”

A state grant to help with the work includes an educational component, a kiosk in the lobby and a website that conveys data from the systems in a way accessible to lay people. 

A fourth major component of the environmentally friendly construction is a rain garden that allows storm water to percolate back into the groundwater and a cistern that collects overflow, monitored by Grand Valley staff.

The solar wall in the facility gets extra monitoring at different levels because the college uses data not only for public education but also for study by engineers and students.

“On the solar wall, they actually brought in one of their staff members who knew what data he wanted to collect for his class and we discussed it to determine what was going to be the best way to collect that data,” explained Rupholdt.  


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