Solar, Wind Will Power Some Laptops

NMU students in the Jacobetti Center will soon be able to recharge their laptops with electricity produced by solar panels and a wind turbine. Michael Martin (Engineering Technology) received two recent grants to support the project: $1,000 from the Wisconsin Energy Foundation and nearly $5,000 from the NMU Wildcat Innovation Fund administered by the provost’s office.

“The solar panels and wind turbine have been on the Jacobetti roof for several years (pictured), but they have only been connected to monitoring equipment.  We lacked the infrastructure to make use of the electricity,” said Martin.

The grants will allow Martin and students in the alternative energy minor to purchase and connect equipment that will control the energy and direct it to a laptop recharging station that they will install in the Jacobetti commons.  

NMU has received international recognition for its technology program, from being one of the first universities in the nation to issue laptop computers to all students to establishing its WiMAX network. Providing renewable energy to charge these computers continues the university’s tradition as a technology pioneer and aligns with the sustainability initiatives of the Road Map to 2015.

Martin said the electrical distribution and equipment installation will happen in the next few months, but because the solar panels and wind turbine will be taken down this summer for the Jacobetti roof replacement, it might be October before the system is fully operational.

Pictured at the Wisconsin Energy Foundation check presentation are (from left) Les Kowalski, asset manager for the Presque Isle Power Plant, which is owned and operated by Wisconsin Energy, and Martin.



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Updated: May 3, 2011

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