Class uses sun to tell the score

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    The campus initiative to go green has expanded to the intramural fields.

    A scoreboard, purchased by the University Recreation Center, was powered by a solar panel for the first time Oct. 26, when the TCU Lacrosse team scrimmaged against its alumni.

    Students in Keith Whitworth’s social justice and environmental sustainability course were charged with putting nine new solar panels to use during the fall semester.

    Whitworth said the purpose of the project is to get the students to educate the campus community about renewable energy and to think of a practical application for solar panels.

    Whitworth and Bill Diong, an associate professor in the engineering department, requested an instructional development grant from the university to obtain money to purchase the panels.

    “The aim is to fund faculty members with good ideas to improve education of a student,” Diong said of the grant.

    Diong said the solar panels can achieve a maximum power level of about 48 watts. However, Diong said the panels were used to power 65-watt laptops during the TCU-Stanford football game Sept. 13.

    Although the panels only provide a small amount of power, Whitworth said he hopes that his students’ ideas will prompt the university to consider using solar power on a larger scale.

    Whitworth said larger solar panels can be used in a variety of ways, from powering outdoor lighting systems to providing power for buildings on campus. Whitworth also said the Physical Plant is looking into installing solar arrays on top of the Rickel building.

    Whitworth said “going green” makes financial sense in a slowing economy.

    “I think going green or being sustainable is very wise,” Whitworth said. “It demonstrates fiscal responsibility. It demonstrates we can be creative and innovative and find ways to reduce our resources. Becoming more green, sometimes in the short run and always in the long run, produces profit.”