HSU is Solar, Student-Style!

Arcata – Humboldt State University’s student-initiated Humboldt Energy Independence Fund (HEIF) Committee has granted $100,000 for two pilot projects: a photovoltaic system for the roof of the Old Music Building and new equipment to complete a Solar Radiation Monitoring Station (SoRMS).

The photovoltaic system was awarded $95,000 and will include two student contests in the fall to create an art display and interpretive signage explaining the installation’s benefits. “This project embodies the interdisciplinary approach that we’ve envisioned for these projects since day one,” said Jeff Hinton, HEIF Committee student chair. “Its presence on campus will evoke a sense of personal investment and achievement on the part of the students.”

Designed by students Nathan Chase, James Robinson, Peter Johnston, and Kristen Radecsky, the project was commended highly by the committee for reduced HSU energy use and the involvement of students from several academic disciplines.

The second project was awarded $5,000 toward completion of the SoRMS. Students have been working with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to create a database for the solar radiation energy of California’s North Coast. Data collected by the project are useful for solar array sizing, determining battery storage requirements and carbon dioxide emission offsets among other things. The information will be accessible to anyone via the laboratory’s website. The committee believes the initiative will provide students an exceptional opportunity to work closely with the NREL and lend a big boost to future HEIF breakthroughs.

The SoRMS project was proposed by students Colin Sheppard, James Apple, Juliette Bohn, and Andrea Allen of the Renewable Energy Student Union (RESU).

Both projects’ installations will get under way as soon as possible and are scheduled to be completed by the end of fall 2008 semester at the latest. Tyler Smith, a voting student member on the HEIF committee, said, “The proposals received in the first round of the Humboldt Energy Independence Fund show the creativity and innovation Humboldt State University students are capable of.”

The fund is financed by a self-imposed fee of $10.00 per student per semester. HEIF monies go toward the development of energy-saving projects that have strong student involvement. Student Juliette Bohn commented, “HEIF is the best thing to happen to HSU in a long time.”