Class of 2015 opens Solar Panel Array design competition to University community

March 03, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State's class of 2015 invites members of the University community to participate in a competition to design the Solar Panel Array, the 2015 class gift chosen last fall in a vote by seniors.

In order to address numerous inquiries and suggestions on the final design, the Class Gift Campaign and Office of Physical Plant (OPP) have collaborated to begin a design competition to involve members of the University community in the process.

This open call invites any member of the University community, including faculty, staff, undergraduates and graduate students, to be part of a team and visualize their own design for the array. Teams must include at least one senior graduating in the 2015 year and not exceed more than 5 individuals.

Submissions require a written description of the team's design and how the design will assist in managing Penn State's energy output, as well as include a rendering of the design in a proposed location. Each submission also should reference the impact of their design on the University and solar energy application at large, as well as the educational applications for the display. Submissions should consider a budget between $150,000 and $200,000. 

Though a final location has not been determined, several locations on campus have been suggested, including the IST Building parking lot; Fisher Plaza, located in front of Chambers Building; and the Shields Building parking lot -- among other places. Areas with high traffic volume or near historic landmarks or monuments are generally discouraged.  

A steering committee comprised of University professionals will oversee the process of selecting a winning design and securing a firm to implement the vision in line with Penn State priorities. Members of the steering committee include Dwayne Rush, OPP project manager; Mike Prinkey, OPP energy advisor; Steve Watson, campus planning and design; Jason Moore, OPP energy engineer; Gordon Turow, director of campus planning and design; Rob Cooper, OPP director of energy and engineering; Jeffrey Brownson, associate professor of energy and mineral engineering; and Geoff Hallett, class gift advisor, Annual Giving.

The winning design team will join the other members of the steering and Class Gift committees in the development of the gift for the duration of the project.

The competition opened for submissions on Feb. 22 and will accept proposals until March 31. Construction of the solar panel array is targeted for completion in April 2016.

More detailed information about the competition and submission requirements can be found at the class gift website, or by emailing advisor Geoff Hallett at

  • 2015 Class Gift announcement, Oct 22, Solar Panel Array

    The Nittany Lion endorsed the Class of 2015 Solar Panel Array at the gift announcement on Oct. 22, 2015.

    IMAGE: Laura Waldhier

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 03, 2015