March 13, 2003
Hyde Memorial Observatory has a new set of solar panels on its roofThe solar panels began generating electricity at 2:02 PM CST on Thursday, March 13th, 2003. This innovative project is a joint venture of Lincoln Electric System and Hyde Memorial Observatory.
The PV system is designed to generate 2-Kilowatts of electricity producing an estimated 50% of the observatory’s annual electrical needs. The solar panels will produce electricity during daylight hours and pass that electricity to an output meter where it is then placed back into Lincoln’s electric grid. The system will operate at maximum production during the daytime when the observatory’s energy use is at a minimum.
Jon Dixon of Dixon Power Systems, Lincoln NE was awarded the contract for the installation. Additional support is being provided by Michael Crisco with the Nebraska Million Solar Roofs Project. Mark Dahmke of Information Analytics Inc. is installing the computer control and monitoring systems.
Future plans call for developing a web site that can be used to display the performance of the PV system. It will provide an excellent opportunity to compare and contrast how different sun angles and sky conditions affect the amount of electricity generated.
The PV system replaces an older, passive solar heating system that had begun to deteriorate after 25 years of service. Unlike the old system, which just generated heat energy, the new PV system will generate electricity to power the observatory and will feed any excess or unused electricity into Lincoln’s grid.
The panels are designed to withstand the impact of a one-inch hailstone and carry a 20-year warranty. Lincoln Electric System funded the system as a demonstration project. Additional project partners include Information Analytics who is installing the computers and web interface, and Alltel who has agreed to provide a DSL service to the observatory.
A dedication ceremony is being planned for later this spring.
Jon Dixon connects PV
system to the LES grid
Erik Hubl records power output
Web space provided by Information Analytics.