UTPA engineering department using solar panels.

Friday, April 9, 2010 - 9:38am

Imagine being able to produce energy and generate your own electricity. That's exactly what electrical engineering students at the University of Pan American are learning to do, thanks to the addition of solar panels to a campus building's roof, Sandra Quintanilla explains in this week's report.

UTPA grads and undergrads are exposed to many cutting edge projects in the classrooms of the university's engineering department. From building mini Baja vehicles to compete nationally, to researching ways to make trains safer, to producing nano fibers to help scientists solve medical problems. Now, UT Pan American is proud to add solar panels to the list of new and exciting educational opportunities. Through this unique field of study, electrical engineering students are getting crucial hands-on experience using the panels to generate their own electricity and produce energy.

Dr. Jaime Ramos uses the 24 solar panels installed on the roof top of the engineering building to teach students how to capture energy from the sun. The assistant professor then shows them how to convert the energy into electricity with this state of the art equipment located in the department's laboratory. Students like Roman Garcia appreciate this learning experience because they say solar energy is becoming the way of the future. Ramos believes projects like this one will no doubt help students become more marketable when they begin pursuing their careers.

Besides serving as an educational tool, the solar panels are also helping the university become a sustainable campus. In fact, UTPA is joining other leading universities in teaching and implementing energy efficiency in its processes and curriculum.

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