Solar Scholars Project

From The Collaboratory

Jump to: navigation, search

Update June 15, 2009: We are officially grid interconnected and producing power!

Dean Eastlake helps assemble a solar array for the Solar Scholars project


The Solar Scholars Project team designed and constructed a working solar power demonstration and training facility on the Messiah College campus. Called the Clifford L. Jones Solar Scholars Pavilion, the training facility provides a venue to teach current students and college visitors about solar electricity production in a hands-on environment. For those who are technically inclined, the system specifications and technical drawings are available, as well as a lot of other documentation.

Purpose statement

The Solar Scholars plan to build a solar power system on the campus of Messiah College in collaboration with the Sustainable Energy Fund (SEF) and Gannett Fleming, Inc. The system will be designed and maintained by Collaboratory/IPC students and remain on campus as a training, education, and research facility.


  • Raise $6000+ from companies or sponsors to receive the SEF's matching funds
  • Design a 3KW 3.3kW photovoltaic power system
  • Purchase panels, inverters, charge controllers, and batteries for the system by early November
  • Complete PV shelter by the end of fall semester
  • Keep the wiki updated on a weekly basis
  • Complete training facility for DE the Collaboratory and Department of Engineering
  • Collaborate with Oakes museum to provide education access for Oakes museum visitors
  • Provide a complete web monitoring solution for the system (goal added in 2008)

Goals have been revised to demonstrate current vs. original goals/accomplishments.


The Solar Scholars team had some help installing the arrays on Service Day 2008
The finished Solar Scholars pavilion

In the spring of 2006 Dokimoi Ergatai became aware of an SEF program designed to foster solar power production in Pennsylvania. DE applied for funding from SEF and was awarded $15,000 in matching funds. A pair of students attended an SEF conference in the summer of 2006, where they learned how to build a solar power system. In the fall of 2006 the Energy Group formed the Solar Scholars team to undertake this project. Most of the design work occurred in the fall of 2006. Also in the fall, $15,000 of funding was secured from Gannett Fleming (the other half of the matching grant).

In 2007 and 2008, the Solar Scholars team completed design and of the Solar Scholars facility, with extensive help from off-campus partners, especially Gannett Fleming, Inc. The team went through the entire design process, including drafting and submitting electrical drawings to the township so that the pavilion could be approved for a permit. The permit was granted in time for construction in 2008.

In the spring of 2008, Wohlsen Construction and many off-campus partners joined the Solar Scholars team in constructing the Solar Scholars pavilion. The pavilion, solar arrays, and balance of system components were installed over a several month period. (Extensive pictures of this process are available on the Collab-Main server.) The pavilion and panel installation were completed by June 2008, although grid interconnection awaited additional approval. A dedication ceremony for the system was held in the fall of 2008.

During the 2008-09 school year, the Solar Scholars team worked to obtain a permit for grid interconnection and completed a solar demonstration cart. The demonstration cart provides a mobile platform for demonstrating the basic concepts of photovoltaic systems. For more information, see the team's final report.

In June 2009, the grid interconnection was finally completed after the arrival of the custom circuit breaker needed to connect the system to Frey Hall. The system was commissioned on June 15, and is now providing electricity to Frey Hall.

Remaining goals include completing the monitoring system for the pavilion and installing ventilation to assist with cooling, as well as completing the system documentation and implementing regular maintenance procedures.


Current Team Leader

Current Team Members

Past Team Members


Internal Resources

Project Planning Articles

10-11 Project Planning Article
09-10 Project Planning Article
08-09 Project Planning Article
07-08 Project Planning Article
06-07 Project Planning Article

IPC Reports (2007)

Sep 2007
Oct 2007


General System Maintenance (Per Semester & Annual)
Panel Tilt Maintenance (Solar Seasonal)
Battery Maintenance (Per Semester)
Battery Equalization (Annual or as needed)

Sustainable Energy Fund Website


Systems settings

Original SEF application

Site Team Proposal

Project Extension Proposal

See also the internal resources article for more documentation.

Dept. of Engineering Reports:

Summer 2006 Quarterly Report
Fall 2006 Quarterly Report

Contact Information

For more information about this project, please contact:

Trevor Smith

For more information about this template, please read Help:Project article and Help:Template.
Personal tools