Solar Power Projects at NIU and Abroad

Solar energy is one of the best kept secrets of the world.  In the U.S., only 1% of our energy comes from solar power, but solar projects are beginning to pop up all over the world.  According to the Mashable article 4 Innovative Solar Tech Projects from Around the World, “You might say the sun is hot right now.”  The article highlights four solar projects, from Serbia, the Netherlands, Finland, and the United Kingdom. 
The four solar projects include an outdoor, solar powered charging station for mobile devices, a solar-powered restaurant, a billboard powered by clean wind and solar energy, and a road that harnesses solar power for use in other locations.  To learn more about these projects, visit http://mashable.com/2012/01/04/innovative-solar-energy-tech/
Solar energy is not only happening overseas.  In the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology (CEET) at NIU, clean sources of energy are being explored through the Design and Development of Hands-on Learning Experience in Renewable Energy.  The project, funded by the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, gives students hands-on knowledge about operating and designing solar power plants.  CEET also has a solar panel installed on the roof of the Technology Department, where real-time data from the solar panels is sent to http://illinoissolarschools.org. 
Assistant Professor of Technology Liping Guo is enthusiastic about the future of solar energy.  “Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power have experienced rapid growth in the past decade.  Solar power plants will have a huge potential to grow.”  Guo continued, “Research and teaching in this important area will benefit the world and the country.” 
Another CEET organization, Engineers Without Borders, explored alternative energy sources in Tanzania.  The projects in Tanzania included installing a solar-powered water heater and electrical system at the Nyegina Secondary School.  Read more about it at http://www.niutoday.info/2011/11/22/niu%e2%80%99s-engineers-without-borders-will-travel-back-to-tanzania-during-winter-holiday-break/.

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