The Missouri University of Science and Technology is putting its old entries to the Solar Decathlon to good use by making a model Solar Village. Four solar homes from past competitions are being reused in an on-campus experimental solar-powered micro-grid. Created in collaboration with students, researchers, utility companies and the Army Corps of Engineers, the Solar Village will test out the viability and functionality of a solar-powered neighborhood with on-site energy storage.

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The project will monitor and test ways to distribute energy to homes using solar panels and storage batteries, measured in the same way that electricity is traditionally supplied through the grid. The microgrid is not fully independent from the utility power grid, but is able to function on its own in “islanded mode,” should an outage occur.

The four-house village will also be inhabited by Missouri S&T students, who will assist in monitoring the results of the experiment. The students living in the solar homes will also serve as a model for how people will interact with a solar system of energy management, and how (and if) the renewable energy source affects appliances or daily life.

The photovoltaic arrays on each of the Solar Homes will generate about 25 kilowatts of power, which will be stored on lithium batteries that can hold 60 kilowatt hours of power. The team will also buy a converter system for utility hook ups in each house.

The Solar Village, which is funded in part by grants, plans to expand in the future to include wind turbines, electric vehicles and an electric vehicle charging station, giving a unique set of students a taste of life powered entirely by renewable energy.

+ Solar Village

Via Phys Org