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Advancing Utah's Energy Future

University of Utah student technology illuminates impacts of solar power

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Katie McKellar – Deseret News

The University of Utah unveiled student-made technology Monday that university students and officials hope will open eyes to the potential of solar power and other renewable energy systems.

While celebrating the university’s solar system installed last year, University of Utah graduate Tom Melburn introduced the final product of a project he has spearheaded since 2011 to create a tool that sheds light on the energy-saving impacts and environmental benefits of solar power, which he said will hopefully inspire others to adopt more sustainable practices and attitudes.

“The cost benefit of installing solar panels on the short-term may not make the most economic sense, but it does on the long-term,” Melburn said. “So (this tool) should ultimately make it more desirable for people to adopt renewable, sustainable energy.”

The student initiative resulted in an electronic dashboard that notes real-time energy output of the university’s solar energy and makes the data more understandable by depicting examples of energy savings in relatable ways. The dashboard will be displayed on kiosks across campus for public eyes.

“By not only having solar panels on top of the building, but also the data coming into the building, we can make all that data more digestible to understand,” Melburn said. “With that, we can hopefully make better choices in our decisions to consume energy more wisely.” (…)

To read more, please visit the Deseret News.