A 'very cool table': Solar-powered workstation donated to CMU campus

While poets and painters may be most famous for gathering inspiration from the outdoors, the students of Central Michigan University’s College of Science and Engineering now have the opportunity to sit in the sun and work on their own projects, too.

A solar-powered picnic table has been installed outside of the Engineering and Technology Building on CMU’s campus.

A solar-powered picnic table has been installed outside of the Engineering and Technology Building on CMU's campus.The table serves as an outdoor workstation with outlets installed where students can plug in their electronic devices, and all powered by sun-fueled solar panels.

The workstation, built by EnerFusion, Inc., was donated by DTE Energy as recognition of the work put in by 12 CMU engineering and technology students over the past two years.

"This is the first solar workstation we've donated, and our hope is that the College of Science and Engineering students can use it to develop other software and further their research and education," says Anthony Morabito, supervisor of solar energy operations for DTE Energy.

Over the past two years, CMU students have spent their senior projects measuring the effectiveness of 200,000 solar panels at the DTE Energy Lapeer solar park. They then designed software to improve the effectiveness of those solar panels.

The solar-powered workstation installed on CMU’s campus will allow for other students to work on solar energy-related projects.

The partnership with DTE Energy is part of CMU’s larger goal of public-private partnerships with established companies. Students solve real world problems for companies that one day could employ them.

"CMU has a vision for community engagement, and the generosity of our DTE partner is an excellent example of working together to be innovative and sustainable while providing our engineering students real-life experiences," says Provost Mary C. Schutten.

"We are grateful for such community partners and for this very cool table."

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