Students who participated in last semesterâ€™s Renewable Energy and Ecological Design (REED) at Green Mountain College (GMC) have designed solar-powered garage that won them a $50,000 grant to build it from the E2 Energy to Educate program sponsored by the Exelon Company, Constellation.
The structure, which they have named after the Welsh sun goddess, â€œOlwen Solar Garage,â€ optimizes cold weather performance of electronic vehicles. Designed for use by the REED program and the working farm at GMC, it features a a 16 panel 3.86-kilowatt solar array with a fiberglass passive solar south-facing wall that can augment early-season germination of crops. Serving as a miniature power plant, the building consumes the power that it produces while serving a need for sustainable food production.
â€œItâ€™s clear that oil is becoming increasingly expensive and that carbon based nonrenewable fuels are contributing to climate destabilization. This project will demonstrate that solar energy can be a less expensive and renewable fuel for cars,â€ said REED course instructor and energy expert, Dr. Steven Letendre, associate professor of economics and environmental studies.Â â€œIn addition, cars that are connected to the grid can themselves become energy storage devices, potentially earning money for the owner.â€
Having received the grant from Constellation, and working closely with contractor mentors and performing most of the labor, students broke ground on the project last September. â€œThe building was designed and constructed in one semester,â€ said lead design-build instructor, Lucas Brown, assistant professor of environmental studies.