Construction & Design Technologies
Progress in the Wind
The spring 2013 semester will usher in the latest addition of applied technology equipment for the School of Construction and Design Technologies. An 80-foot tower with a 10 kilowatt wind turbine, located at the Schneebeli Earth Science Center, will be a key instructional component for the Renewable Energy Technologies major. Funds totaling more than $96,000 were made available by the U.S. Department of Energy, through a Wind Energy Grant that was facilitated by Penn State. In addition to the turbine, the grant provided funding for materials needed for the construction of an on-site building that will house the operational controls for the turbine. Students and faculty from a cross section of majors within the School of Construction and Design Technologies worked together to build the 24 by 24 foot control station. Classes that participated in the construction of the facility included carpentry, masonry, concrete and electrical.
The Xzeres 442 turbine is directly tied to the PPL electrical grid by means of two 6,000 watt Windyboy Inverters manufactured by SMA-America, and the Xzeres turbine controller. The turbine will also provide power to the control building and a few campus electrical circuits. In the control building, students will be able to monitor the output of the turbine, which is collected and sent to the Internet for a record of its production. The history of the turbine's performance can be evaluated and analyzed by future classes.
The three year old Renewable Energy Technologies major prepares students to install, maintain, and troubleshoot wind turbines, as well as two different types of solar panel systems - photovoltaic systems that generate electricity and solar thermal panel systems that generate hot water. In previous semesters, a grant was obtained to construct a three kilowatt photovoltaic array panel. The panel provides educational opportunities as well as generating power.
As the nation continues to look toward renewable resources to meet its energy needs, Penn College stands ready to prepare our graduates to seize the employment opportunities that lie ahead!