Solar Flora

Members of the Park Scholarship Legacy Committee are building a Solar Flora, a sculptural solar power system, in front of Hunt Library. 

The 16-foot tall, 11-foot wide Solar Flora contains six solar panel “petals” that will operate independently from the electrical grid to power a four-outlet charging station and area lighting. 

Solar Flora is a symbol of the sustainability at NC State and will be used to promote other sustainable initiatives on campus, according to Tori Huffman, a senior in biological sciences and co-chair of the 2015 Legacy Committee.

It is slated to be running by the spring, and the university has already expressed a desire to install four more, according to Huffman.

The Solar Flora will have tables and seats for students to use while charging their devices. By uploading a QR code, students can see how much energy the installation is producing, Huffman said.

“The Solar Flora is not all about generating energy, but is more about generating ideas about sustainable energy,” said Nathan Pedder, a senior in mechanical engineering and a member of the Legacy Committee. “The proximity to Hunt Library will help to accrue visibility from students and visitors.” 

Student Body President Rusty Mau said the Solar Flora is art that functions as an energy provider. 

Mau believes sustainable initiatives such as Solar Flora represent a transformation in the way students look at sustainability.

“It shows students at NC State are committed to revolutionizing the way we think about energy on our campus,” Mau said. “[The Solar Flora] are a testament to Centennial Campus, NC State and to the importance of alternative energy efforts.”

The Solar Flora is the Park Scholars’ 2015 legacy and will be installed in Partners I courtyard across the street from Hunt Library, Huffman said. 

“I think it is a great example of how the Park Scholars are giving back to NC State through combining scholarship, leadership, service and character,” said Eva Feucht, director of the Park Scholarship program at NC State.

The Legacy Committee is one-third of the way from its goal of raising $40,000 for the project which includes installation and amenities, Huffman said.

Xavier Primus, a senior in computer science and co-chair of the 2015 Legacy Committee, said NC State has solar panels on campus, but that they are on the top of buildings and out of sight.

“Students can gather underneath and work outside,” Pedder said. “The sculpture is meant to draw students’ attention to solar energy.”

Tis landmark is going to draw attention to sustainability on campus and is also a change in pace from the last year’s class legacy of $50,000 endowment to the Park Scholarship program, according to Primus.

“Students can think about how they can affect social change through clean energy initiative,” Primus said.

Spotlight Solar, a Triangle-based solar company, designed the Solar Flora, which will be installed by Yes! Solar Solutions. The companies have worked with the Institute for Emerging Issues during past projects, according to Huffman. 

The project is supported by the NC State Sustainability Fund Advisory Board, Student Government, the UNCSGA, Centennial Campus, students and alumni, according to the Solar Flora blog.