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Technology students learn about renewable energy firsthand in Germany

Fourteen students from the Department of Technology toured Germany May 18-29. The group included five graduate students, and the trip focused on visiting sites that featured renewable energy and sustainability.

“We were very impressed with the huge deployment of wind and solar energy in Germany,” Technology Professor Dave Kennel said. “The group particularly enjoyed visiting the Solar Settlement in Freiburg.”

According to the Solar Settlement website, this structure generates 420,000 kilowatt-hours of solar energy from a total photovoltaic output of about 445 kilowatt-peak per year. This means that 200,000 liters of oil and 500 tons of carbon dioxide are saved annually, which has major positive implications for the environment. The settlement includes townhomes as well as a commercial building.

The architect of the Solar Settlement, Rolf Disch, kept renewable energy concepts in mind when he built his own home. The Heliotrope was the first home in the world that produces more energy than it expends.

The student group also visited the largest solar installation in Europe, the Neuhardenberg Solar Park. It is located east of Berlin and was built on the grounds of a former military airport. This power plant provides green power to 48,000 houses.

The trip provided a fantastic opportunity for Technology students to see renewable energy at work.

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