[ skip to content ]

News @ ODU

Electrical Engineering Students Help Lead Hampton Roads Solar Tours

Yunus ErkayaOld Dominion University Ph.D. student Yunus Erkaya during the Hampton Roads Solar Tour

Old Dominion University electrical engineering students with an abiding passion for renewable energy recently participated in the 2013 Hampton Roads Solar Tour, a daylong tour of homes in the community powered by renewable energy.

The tour, sponsored by the Hampton Roads Solar Group, a committee of the Hampton Roads Green Building Council, showcased the homes Saturday, Oct. 5, on the Eastern Shore, Peninsula, Middle Peninsula and in South Hampton Roads as part of the American Solar Energy Society's National Solar Tour.

Four ODU engineering doctoral students - Krishna Aryal, Grace Rajan, Tasnuva Ashrafee and Yunus Erkaya - and three master's students - Chad Herndon, Caitlin Conway and Nitin Hegde - helped lead tours in Hampton Roads, which were designed to showcase renewable energies available today for people living in the region.

"This was a great experience for the students to enhance their practical knowledge, while helping the public better understand the immediate and long-term benefits of renewable energies," said Sylvain Marsillac, professor of electrical engineering at ODU and director of the Virginia Institute of Photovoltaics in the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology.

"This is a chance for the students to not just talk the talk, but also walk the walk."

Technologies showcased during the tours included solar electric (or photovoltaic), solar water heating, wind and geothermal.

The Hampton Roads Solar Group is a volunteer organization dedicated to the daily use and promotion of green technologies. The overarching mission of the group is to demonstrate the importance and benefits of renewable energy for both businesses and private residences.

To accomplish this goal, the Hampton Roads Solar Group provides educational and public outreach programs, such as the Hampton Roads Solar Home Tour, to share and demonstrate new techniques for citizens to live sustainably and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

Led by Marsillac, ODU researchers have received nearly $3 million in funding for research into photovoltaic energy in the past few years, from sources such as the U.S. Department of Energy and Dominion Virginia Energy.