University of Pittsburgh Solar Project

AYA Instruments Inc. was recently an adviser to the University of Pittsburgh in completing a solar project on the college campus, which was funded by John A. Swanson PhD ’66, the universities largest benefactor. AYA assisted students, faculty, and alumni from the Swanson School of Engineering in installing a solar power array on the roof of Benedum Hall at the University of Pittsburgh. This was the first installment on the University of Pittsburgh campus, but more are likely to be built. Carl Lotz, project adviser and sales manager at AYA, worked with a solar panel installation company to station the 18 PV solar panels, which were positioned in 3 directions: east, south, and west. They were also installed at different tilts: 25 degrees and 45 degrees. This enables faculty and students to compare the power output at different directions and angles.
The purpose of the solar arrays is to provide both residents and businesses of many different industries around Western Pennsylvania with concrete data about solar power generation in our area. The project is designed to provide hands-on research for the school’s new Power Engineering Lab.

Due to its relatively high latitude and weather conditions, such as cloudiness and snow, Western Pennsylvania is not usually associated with substantial solar power yield. One of the main objectives of this project is to determine the overall feasibility and viability of solar power generation in Pittsburgh, considering the decline in solar energy costs and its uses in various settings and applications. Learning more and specifically identifying factors such as cloud coverage, ambient temperature, panel temperature, and azimuth direction and finding possible ways to combat negative effects on the output could provide our region with more information and research about solar power generation.
According to Dr. Marangoni, one of the faculty members who assisted Dr. Swanson, “This is a distinctive solar installation because the students have participated in hands-on research with our benefactor, Dr. John Swanson, through a product realization course.” Through this project, students have been able to take part in the installation and the integration of the array into the Power Engineering Lab (PEL).

The solar panels supply electricity and power generation data to the PEL and enables faculty and students to explore integrating other power generation sources such as wind.

Click here to check out the data produced by the solar panels and Power Engineering Lab.

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