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When Cedarville University began developing its solar array field—the largest connected to any university in Ohio—back in April 2013, the primary purpose was to create new streams of energy on campus. But for Cedarville’s engineering students, the benefits since the installation have become more than just financial.

Tom Thompson, Ph.D., professor of mechanical engineering, started using the solar fields last year to help teach his Topics in Mechanical Engineering class. He focused on analyzing practical applications for solar energy. He also used the field to prompt discussions about the growth of photovoltaic power and the feasibility of using solar energy in the future.

The solar field resource was so beneficial to his students that Thompson wants to use the array again, this time as a kinematics project. The goal is to have students study the arrays in order to develop and design reflectors to improve their efficiency. Because the solar panels are stationary, the reflectors would allow more clean energy to be produced.

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Cedarville, Cedarville University, solar panels, engineering, solar energy



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