UD installs thousands of solar panels at old NCR HQ

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Credit: JIM OTTE / STAFF

The old NCR headquarters, now the University of Dayton’s Curran Place, is the site of UD’s newest and biggest solar project.

Crews are putting in thousands of solar panels to catch the sun and turn it into electricity -- enough to provide up to 10 percent of the building’s power needs.

“I’m really excited the university decided to embrace clean energy,” student Matthew Trybus said. “I think as a whole the entire world is starting to move that way.”

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Steve Kendig, UD’s energy utilization and environmental sustainability director, said there is another solar installation on top of Fitz Hall.

He said the bright sunshine is good for generating electricity, but contrary to what people may think, a heat wave is not so good.

Storm Center 7 meteorologist Kirstie Zontini said solar panels perform better under moderate conditions.

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“Once it goes past its optimal temperature, it starts to lose efficiency,” Zontini said. “Even though it might be getting the same amount of sunlight as, say at 77 degrees, at 90 that panel is not going to be working as efficiently.”

When construction is finished, the university will do some experimenting under the panels to help keep them cool.

“We’re going to be testing what plants or grand cover will keep the panels cooler in the summer so they’ll be more efficient during the hotter days as well,” Kendig said.

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With this project, the university also wants to send a message that it is committed to cutting greenhouse gases and protecting the environment.

If they stay on schedule, completion should come this fall, sometime in October.

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