web.Submitted by Meg McCaffrey on March 15, 2010
Increased support for creating renewable energy sources to meet the nation’s energy needs has reinvigorated research into solar energy. Fairfield University’s School of Engineering is one place where the potential of solar energy is being explored.
Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering Dr. Ryan Munden’s research into making it a more efficient and widely used energy source recently got a boost when he was awarded a $20,000 grant from the Connecticut NASA Space Grant College Consortium. Also at Fairfield, there is an experimental 12.5 kW solar cell photovoltaic array operating on the campus, a project initiated seven years ago by Dr. Vagos Hadjimichael, the dean of the School of Engineering. Their hope, like many other engineers and scientists, is that improved efficiency of photovoltaic devices – they absorb sunlight to make electricity – will help lessen the world’s reliance on oil and coal. This comes as federal and state governments are encouraging eco-friendly solar panel technology development to compete with fossil fuels – major polluters. President Obama has also pledged his support of solar energy projects.
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