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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth


Old Dominion University received a $500,000 to develop solar energy research.

The grant was funded by Dominion Virginia Power's research and development partnership in hopes of finding energy alternatives.

The solar panel students and professors have been working on is far from ordinary.

"This will track the sun throughout the day and keep it perpendicular to the sun so we get more efficiency and more power out of it," ODU student Caitlin Conway said.

Wherever the sun goes, the panel will tilt to get maximum exposure.

Sylvain Marsillac, one of ODU's photovoltaic researchers is helping oversee the assembly of the panel and sees a big future in solar energy.

"This system will generate five kilowatt... it is a five-kilowatt system, so per day, you have roughly 20 kilowatt hours for a house. [The panel] could generate enough for two houses, two 3,000 square foot houses," Marsillac said.

However, the system won't just be used for powering homes.

"This is a facility that will be used for testing new devices, new materials, new gadgets and also will kind of be a tool for our students," ODU professor Shirshak Dhali said.

Grace Rajan is one of those students. She is a native of India, completing her master's degree at ODU.

"I come from a place where I have like two hours of power because it's really hard to get electricity," Rajan said.

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