The University of Houston Downtown (UHD) Uses Solar Energy to Power Two Labs in Their New Science and Technology Building

The University of Houston Downtown (UHD) selected SHINE to build a 24 kW DC off-grid solar and battery system to power two science labs in their new Science and Technology.

The system is off-grid, but its design also has a manual transfer switch that allows UHD the capability to power the labs from the grid. The system incorporates 21 SimpliPhi lithium-ion batteries with a total capacity of 80 kWh. The off-grid system provides the labs with a minimum of two days of energy autonomy.

The project objective was two-fold: Power the science labs with renewable energy, and provide a hands-on, real-world system for UHD science, engineering, and environmental students to learn from. Students can monitor both the energy consumption of the labs as well as the solar generation and state of charge of the batteries. Furthermore, SHINE has helped UHD to develop renewable energy lesson plans and lab experiments that incorporate the new off-grid system.

Funding for this project included a grant from Green Mountain Energy. Additionally, as part of the RFP process for this project, UHD preferred to work with a historically underutilized business (HUB); SHINE received their certification as a HUB prior to the commissioning of the system.

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD)—the second largest university in Houston—has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974.

As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates more than 15,000 students; boasts more than 60,000 alumni and offers 45 bachelor’s, nine master’s degree programs and 16 fully online programs within five colleges (Marilyn Davies College of Business; Humanities & Social Sciences; Public Service, Sciences & Technology; and University College).

UHD has the most affordable tuition among four-year universities in Houston and one of the lowest in Texas. The University is noted nationally as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Minority-Serving Institution and Military Friendly School. For more on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit

Learn more about this project on the University of Houston Downtown's website.

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