Capturing the Sun

Dale F. Kempf Solar Energy Initiative Solar Panels Provide Sustainable Energy Benefits


Solar Panels
Web Page Interface

Solar Photovoltaic Panels on Top of
Fites Engineering Innovation Center

Webpage to View Real Time Energy
Production of Solar Panels

The solar energy facility on top of the Donald V. Fites Engineering Innovation Center at Valparaiso University has been completed and commissioned. The nearly $13 million College of Engineering building was dedicated in October 2011.

This 26-kilowatt solar power system feeds energy into the Fites Center’s power system and into NIPSCO’s electric power system through a net metering agreement. The University accrues Solar Renewable Energy Credits that can be auctioned on the open market to electric utilities that must have a certain percentage of their energy portfolio from renewable or green sources.

The performance of the 105 Canadian Solar panels on the roof of the Fites Center can be viewed in real time at

College of Engineering Dean Kraig J.Olejniczak credited Dale F. Kempf, Valparaiso University alumnus and adjunct assistant professor of electrical engineering emeritus, for his dedication to the project. Kempf is a 1962 electrical engineering graduate.

“This installation is the sole reason we will be able to apply to the United States Green Building Council for LEED Platinum Certification,” Olejniczak said. “Without the visionary leadership and philanthropy of Dale Kempf, none of this would have been possible.”

The live online monitoring offers a look at the solar power system’s current generation, kilowatt hours generated to date, carbon offsets, and different equivalents of energy saved.

Solar Panel Close-up

Close-up of Solar Photovoltaic Panel

Valparaiso University is also the home of the James S. Markiewicz Solar Energy Research Facility, which will provide Valpo undergraduates with extraordinary engineering and research experiences and expose College of Engineering students to solar energy engineering. Students have assisted in the design and construction of the facility, which is expected to be fully operational in the fall of 2012.

The Valpo community has been celebrating Earth Week with a number of events and activities focused on environmental awareness. For more information, visit