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 SRU Receives $27,000 Grant for Solar, Wind Energy System 



Jan. 27, 2006

Contact: Gordon Ovenshine 724-738-4954;


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Slippery Rock University has received a $27,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority to erect a solar and wind energy system to provide power to its Robert M. Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research.

A wind turbine and solar panels will provide a renewable, non-polluting source of energy for the center’s main building and serve as an educational resource for students, said SRU’s Herb Carlson, assistant vice president of facilities services, who applied for the grant.

The clean energy system follows graduate-student research by Heath Gamache that showed wind energy production was feasible, laying the groundwork for the grant. Gamache, who graduated in 2004, erected a 100-foot meteorological tower on the Macoskey property that measured wind speed for a year.

The 80-acre Macoskey Center promotes environmental education and awareness through demonstration, education and research. The new energy system will power its Harmony House, where sustainable systems graduate students conduct research. The system will provide opportunities for students to observe new technologies and compare wind velocity to energy generation.

Carlson said prospective builders will be on campus Feb. 8 to tour the site, with a contract awarded and construction launched later this year.

Wind turbines use propellers to generate “clean” electricity. Wind makes the blades turn, spinning a generator that produces electricity. Solar panels convert the sun’s rays into utility-grade current, according the U.S. Department of Energy Web site.

The Macoskey Center, behind N. Kerr Thomson Stadium, has some solar panels in place providing backup electricity for the center.  Any excess gets fed into the existing grid.

           On days with no wind, the Macoskey Center will use conventional electricity.

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