UMR’s Design for an Environmental STEP Ahead: Solar Thermal Electric Panels

EPA Grant Number: SU833929
Title: UMR’s Design for an Environmental STEP Ahead: Solar Thermal Electric Panels
Investigators: Baur, Stuart W. , Lough, Katie Grantham , Stone, Robert
Institution: Missouri University of Science and Technology
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Phase: I
Project Period: August 31, 2008 through July 31, 2009
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2008) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , P3 Awards , Sustainability


The objective of this design project is to leverage state of the art research at Missouri S&T (formerly UMR) and design thermal and electric energy hybrid roof panels in a modular form so that alternative energy sources are available and affordable for typical homes. The expected output of the project will be a modular solar thermal electric panel (STEP) prototype.

Missouri S&T has three solar houses currently operating as student residences. These homes are currently sitting atop basement foundations that are equipped with a variety of energy measuring equipment to allow for STEP prototype testing in realistic environments.


In order to accomplish the research objective, an experimental model will be constructed using four standalone PV panels and four hybrid panels at the solar village site. Using ASHRAE 93-2003 the test setup and procedures will be instrumented with a sensor suite that will allow a comprehensive array of temperature and energy efficiency readings. They will include temperature, solar intensity, fluid flow, thermal differences and energy efficiency. Based on the results the hybrid design will be modeled to a full scale test on the university’s solar homes entry to the 2009 Solar Decathlon.

Expected Results:

The expected outcomes of the project will be an experimentally determined solar thermal/electric panel (STEP) system. The expected outcomes will be 1.) performance analysis of the STEP system based energy and thermal efficiency and 2.) evaluation on the return on investment for its end users.

While the initial end users will be the next Solar House constructed at Missouri S&T in anticipation of the 2009 Solar Decathlon, the next set of end users are anticipated to be residents of Caruthersville, MO. The students on the design team will visit with Caruthersville, MO tornado survivors and chronicle their rebuilding to identify their specific building material needs and energy concerns as part of the IDE 215 Junior Design Project Course and the IDE/Arch E 301 Renewable Energy Systems Modeling course.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 3 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

green building, green roof, architectural design, sustainable urban planning, cost benefit assessment, solar thermal heating,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report