Bright idea as university logs on to solar power
IT WILL surprise Scots everywhere but computers are to be run on sunshine in one of Scotland’s newest universities.
Despite the country’s lack of natural light, especially in the winter, Napier University in Edinburgh is planning to install a huge array of solar panels on one of its buildings to provide a new source of power.
In the largest project of its type north of the Border, the electricity will be used to power 100 screens in its state-of-the-art computer sciences centre.
The project will both use a renewable source of power as well as save the university money in the long run. Its supporters also hope that the experiment will lead to cheaper solar power systems that can be installed in homes throughout the country.
Napier will this week apply for planning permission for the 145,000 project which has partly been financed by a 81,000 government grant.
The distinctive photovoltaic panels, which will cover a five-storey outer section of its teaching block in the city’s Colinton Road, have the capability to supply one fifth of the 500 computers inside.
Professor Tariq Muneer, an international authority on solar radiation, said the university had decided to go ahead after successfully bidding for cash from a 100m fund set up by the government for small-scale renewable energy projects.
"It will cover five floors and will hopefully get people talking about the possibilities of solar power," he said.
"Solar power is a very environmentally-friendly fuel and the more we can demonstrate that this technology works then the more confidence the public will have in it."
One goal was carrying out research into ways of making solar power affordable for home-owners. "We hope that within a few years the cost of the technology will have dropped enough to allow everyone to consider fitting solar panels at home," Muneer said.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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