Tuesday, December 13, 2011

College looks to sustainable energy future with PRISM grant

Jim Cox
A PRISM grant by the National Science Foundation is helping Daytona State College develop new credit and non-credit curriculum related to renewable energy. It also is funding the development of solar energy systems at the Advanced Technology College that can serve as models for a sustainable energy future.

Through the Renewable Energy Institute established last year at the ATC - the first of the three-year, $115,000-plus grant - the college will offer two four-day courses beginning in January through its Center for Business & Industry.

The first, Introduction to Solar Thermal (Hot-Water) Systems, takes place Jan. 3 – 6 from 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. It will be followed by an Introduction to solar PV Installation course Jan. 10 – 13, also from 8: 30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (More information can be found here.)

Ground-mounted solar panel under construction.
“Our primary goal is to create awareness about sustainable energy,” said Jim Cox, who teaches computer science and electronics at the ATC and is helping to build three grant-funded solar energy grids there. “Our non-credit courses are designed for industry professionals who want to learn more about the renewable energy technologies already commercially available. We also will develop a renewable energy component that will feed into our electronics engineering program curriculum.”

The solar energy systems being installed at the ATC will serve as laboratory models. Each consists of 16 ground-mounted solar panels. Two of the systems are being tied to the facility’s utility grid and each will power its own electronics lab. “We will be able to monitor how much energy we actually have and how much of the power for these two labs is actually being supported by the solar systems,” Cox said. “The third power station will be a standalone available to the general public for charging electric vehicles.”
Installation is expected to be completed in January.