Toure and Harris-Toovy at InventOR
Toure and Harris-Toovy at InventOR

Oregon Tech Renewable Energy Engineering student Adama Toure and Electrical Engineering student Jordan Harris-Toovy won the Visionary Award at the June 27 Invent Oregon Collegiate Challenge (InventOR) for their fault detection technology that monitors the life of solar panels. InventOR stated that the concept, if realized, has the potential to make a lasting impact on the world.

InventOR is a statewide invention competition for Oregon-based college and university students to take their ideas for world-changing inventions from the drawing board to reality.

Toure and Harris-Toovy’s company, named Second Life Solar, developed a low-cost solar panel monitoring prototype that uses sensors to detect and classify faults in solar panels. The team said this new technology could improve solar panel reliability and safety. The technology also enables the safe refurbishment of used solar panels for grid-connected applications, reducing solar panel waste and contributing to a circular economy in the solar panel industry.

“Solar panels can only be considered clean and sustainable energy technology if they pose minimal environmental concerns,” Toure said. “Unfortunately, at present, 90% of decommissioned solar panels end up in landfills. Thus, increased efforts in recycling and refurbishment are needed alongside the rapid adoption of solar energy.”

The Visionary Award included a $2,500 prize that Toure and Harris-Toovy will use to incorporate their startup and develop their next prototype.

“In gratitude to everyone at Oregon Tech who supported us, we decided to donate the first prototype we built to Oregon Tech,” Toure said. “This prototype is our way of saying thank you.”

Toure and Harris-Toovy received an invitation to InventOR after competing in Oregon Tech’s Catalyze Klamath Challenge in April. Oregon Tech students Grant Kightlinger and Molly Grace also presented their business concept, FairPlay Challenge, at InventOR. Two current Oregon Tech students Carter Stewart and Emmett Allen received an invitation to InventOR from their time as Rogue Community College students and presented their business, Ancile Systems, winning the Outstanding Community College Award with their automated field tourniquet.