ITP: Solar Powered

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Initial Sketch for Project Icons

The ITP Solar Powered project will channel power into many of the small electrics on the ITP floor, using energy created by our rooftop solar panel. The aim of the project is to create high visibility for sustainable power while fully utilizing our limited clean energy resources.

Currently the solar panel is set up to charge two 60Ah lead-acid battery packs in alternation. While one battery drinks up sunny delight on the 12th Floor, the other is wheeled down to the 4th Floor for use. There its built-in inverter will power a set of AA and 9-Volt battery charging units. The small batteries, once loaded with solar-sourced electricity, will be able to power microcontrollers, motors, art projects, remote sensing systems, cameras, sound recorders and anything else with modest electrical needs. If enough capacity remains, video cameras, iPods and laptop computers could also plug in and take a drink from our nearest star. Because rechargeable batteries are reused rather than being thrown away, the project will also save the materials used in creating alkaline batteries while removing their toxic products from our waste stream.

Batteries are pretty small and the power inside is invisible. There needs to be a clear indication of which projects and devices are running off the sun, so that this project can pave the way for bigger things. Visibility, labeling and signage will be as important as the power and technologies that are used. The main battery charging station should be in a high traffic location with clear signs and attractive color graphics. It needs to be obvious to members of the ITP community so that they are reminded to use it, and for visitors so that they can learn more about our sustainability endeavors. Rebecca Bray will be creating the graphic designs for the project. Gallery exhibits and show pieces will be able to feature an ITP Solar Powered logo on their signs and web sites. Stickers and hang tags will be available for anyone who uses solar juice in their camera, recorder or iPod. To expand the initiative, similar identification materials will be available for projects that are human-powered, recycled, reused or otherwise “green” in nature.

It is hoped that this small beachhead for clean power can be useful as a demonstration of our commitment to sustainable energy, support expansion of our rooftop solar system, and continue the promotion of sustainable practices at ITP and NYU.