The Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering is developing an alternative energy-based curriculum to train students in the design and use of alternative energy. In conjunction with this new curriculum, the department has received a University Sustainability Fund grant to install a solar array as part of a teaching laboratory at the A.V. Williams building.
Students will get hands-on experience conducting experiments designed to show them how to maximize efficiency, estimate power consumption and predict performance of different power systems. Emphasis will be on the technical aspects of alternative energy with discussion on social and economic implications. Current plans are to offer a freshman level overview course and a junior level project-based course. The solar array and related equipment has been donated to the department. The unique manner in which the solar array is being installed will allow it’s configuration to be versatile, allowing smaller sub-arrays to be utilized at each station in the teaching laboratory for courses and research. When not in use for education or research the array will be configured to provide the maximum amount of power to offset power demands on campus. In addition, solar panels will be utilized as a demonstration system for the college and surrounding communities.