The largest solar power project in downtown Milwaukee is up and running at Milwaukee School of Engineering.A side note to the story says:
144 solar panels sit on the roof of the school's student union building and are visible to office workers in nearby downtown buildings. That's by design, said Chris Damm, associate professor of mechanical engineering at MSOE.
"It's a statement to show that MSOE is leading the way in terms of sustainability and engineering, to attract students who are interested in emerging energy technologies and sustainable engineering," he said.
But the project is more than just a showcase for the university. It's part of a training ground for students to engage in research in the growing fields of renewable energy and more efficient energy use.
Already, students did research to help determine the best spot on the downtown campus to place the solar panels - to ensure they wouldn't be blocked by shadows from nearby buildings and generate too little power.
The solar project is the largest in downtown Milwaukee and one of the biggest at the state, though larger projects may be in the works.
The state's largest solar systems are at GE Healthcare in Waukesha and Kohl's Corp. in Menomonee Falls.
The downtown Milwaukee project, with a price tag of $235,000, was paid for through a combination of internal funding, a $100,000 grant from We Energies and a $35,000 grant from the state energy efficiency and renewable program, Focus on Energy.
The future of solar power will be discussed during a conference next month at the Midwest Airlines Center in Milwaukee. The Solar Decade conference is planned for Oct. 23-24. For more, go to www.solardecade.com or call (800) 762-7077.