One look at Fitzpatrick Hall and you would never guess that part of the power that keeps the lights on is actually coming from the sun.
New solar panels being used at Notre Dame are smaller,lighter and more flexible than traditional panels. The flexibility makes for an easier and cheaper installation.
The panels are able to adhere directly to the building and contour to the shape of the roof, instead of having to be attached to the roof like a crystalline panel.
From the roof to the outlet, these panels help offset part of what the building uses.
Now, the panels are only being used for testing rather than production. It's a test between two different manufacturers to see which one works best here in Michiana.
A company based out of Michigan called Unisolar and a manufacturer out of California, called Solar Power are being tested. Two panels are put side by side and the university will monitor the performance of the two solar installations.
Officials hope the panels can eventually help off-set the energy that the university uses.
The university is even using the solar panels on a golf cart. The solar panel on top of the cart is connected to the battery system.
According to the manufacturer, the panel will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 400 pounds a year, the equivalent to planting 20 trees.
It's a small change that will make Notre Dame a little greener.