Norfolk, Va. - There's a big push underway at Norfolk's Old Dominion University to study solar energy.
Dr. Sylvain Marsillac, one of the country's leading researchers into photovoltaic energy, is leading the initiative.
In January, giant solar panels were installed on the roof of ODU's Kaufman Hall as part of a $500,000 grant from Dominion Virginia Power to study solar energy concepts.
"There are 24 panels and these panels are gathering the sunshine and are transferring it into electricity. It’s direct sunshine into electricity," Dr. Marsillac explained.
This summer, 600 solar panels will be installed on the rooftop of ODU's student recreation center.
The panels are Dominion Virginia Power's first participant in the Solar Partnership Program and should generate enough electricity to power 35 homes.
However, it's not just harnessing electricity that's happening with ODU's solar energy program.
Dr. Marsillac and his team are also looking at how that energy can be effectively gathered and at what time of day the most energy is produced.
"That is interesting for Dominion Power for instance when they install the large field of panels, they need to understand: when is the power going to be generated? Because if power goes down and everyone goes home and the air conditioning goes up: they need to have the power," Dr. Marsillac explained.
Click here to learn more about solar power research at Old Dominion University.