Story in the School of Engineering
Agustin Fonts '08
Hands-on experience laying solar panels cements alumnus' career in renewable energy technology.
Augustin Fonts '08, an electrical engineering major, says learning to construct photovoltaic panels for Santa Clara's Solar Decathlon entry was an inspiring educational experience. The hands-on work forced him to think about real-life applications, and, together, students and professors innovated side by side.
The efficient, flexible panels and battery system Fonts designed scored the maximum allowable points in the 2007 U.S. Department of Energy competition. The battery bank stores enough energy to last five days and is bypassed when it isn't needed, keeping the batteries continually charged. Fonts says his design would work for today's homeowners. The project inspired Fonts to switch his career planning away from a bioengineering focus, because he sees the world heading toward an energy revolution. "After this project, I discovered the importance of renewable energy sources, and I want to devote my career to the technology involved in developing them," he says.