UAH engineering students install solar panels to a golf cart, making the vehicle virtually maintenance free. The Alabama Center for Sustainable Energy also assisted with coordinating the event.

Michael Mercier | UAH

Last week, The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) student chapter outfitted a golf cart with solar panels, making the vehicle virtually maintenance free. The event served as a kickoff for the AEE student chapter to raise awareness among the UAH community about sustainable energy.

"The students applied to the UAH Green Fund for this project in March. We loved the idea and immediately began working with the Alabama Center for Sustainable Energy on the design. Within four months, we had a design, materials, and volunteers," said Haley Hix, UAH Sustainability Coordinator.

The golf cart is owned by the UAH Student Life Office and is used daily for numerous campus jobs and errands. The vehicle is powered by a mounted photovoltaic (PV) film panel on the roof. With solar power from the sun there is no fuel cost, worrisome engine noises or pollution,  and best of all daily plug-ins have been eliminated. The Alabama Center for Sustainable Energy, and UAH College of Engineering students Ivy Elrod and Zach Maresh also assisted with coordinating this event. 

"Working with UAH students is easily the best part of my job! They come up with crazy fun ideas like these and make them happen. It really encourages me that these students will be the ones leading Alabama to sustainable energy future," said Daniel Tait, CEO Alabama Center For Sustainable Energy.

Hix said the UAH Sustainability Office is currently looking to install solar panel conversion kits on other low speed university vehicles. The UAH AEE Huntsville Chapter provides information and networking in the dynamic fields of energy engineering and energy management, renewable and alternative energy, power generation, energy services, and sustainability.



Joyce Anderson-Maples