Energy Department Launches Five New Solar Ready Vets Training Locations, Announces $10 Million for National Solar Training Programs
The Energy Department announced five additional military bases will join Solar Ready Vets, a solar jobs training program that prepares service members for careers in the solar industry when they leave active duty. The Department is also awarding $10 million to 10 new projects through its Solar Training and Education for Professionals (STEP) funding program, which was created to help meet the solar industry's growing demand for wellqualified, highly skilled installers and other industry-related professionals.
"Jobs in the dynamic solar energy sector have grown more than 20 percent per year for the past several years," said Deputy Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall. "At DOE, we are committed to training the solar workforce of the future through our partnership with the Department of Defense, the solar industry, and community colleges around the country."
These solar energy training efforts build on the success of the SunShot Initiative's Solar Instructor Training Network, which has trained 1,100 certified solar instructors and provided hands-on solar workforce training to more than 30,000 students nationwide through our nation's community colleges. Today the solar industry is a leader in hiring military veterans—employing nearly 17,000 veterans to date— and it is committed to employing 50,000 veterans by 2020.
GridEd on the Move
|Siemens' recently produced video on GEARED premiered at DistribuTECH in Orlando, February 9-11.|
Later in the month, GridEd held its bi-annual advisory meeting on February 24 at the JW Marriott in Austin. SIB Chair, Morteza Rezaee, spoke on SIB activities and challenges, and Professor Jie Li of Clarkson University presented on using a GridEd short course as the basis for developing a semester-long course (see full story below). Professor Agustin Irizarry-Rivera of University of Puerto Rico – Mayaguez provided an overview of two upcoming GridEd Short Courses ─ IEEE 762 and Unbalanced Power Systems Analysis. Job shadowing, an open access course on basic power engineering, and an upcoming technology transfer workshop for Affiliate universities were key topics of discussion.
|SIB student posters on display at DistribuTECH||Professor Jie Li of Clarkson University presents on converting a GridEd short course into a semester long course||SIB Chair, Morteza Rezaee, discusses student activities and challenges in attracting students to power engineering|
GridEd Short Courses Offer Continuing Value
|Professor Jie Li of Clarkson University discusses continuing value of GridEd short course|
Using insights from the course, Professor Li revised a semester long undergraduate level course at Clarkson. The Clarkson course originally focused on the electric aspects of alternative renewable resources such as wind, solar, and other distributed generation. The course now explores more detailed technical materials of engineering economics and includes time value of money, cash flow analysis, present value analysis, net present value, escalation and inflation, annualized and levelized analysis, fixed charge rate, net present value, and government incentives for renewables.
Li also plans to leverage the business case analysis material to improve the syllabus for a graduate level course which focuses on least-cost planning from the utility's point of view. This will include cost based vs. price based planning in market environment, reliability / power quality / environmental cost modeling, and customer cost modeling using the ICE Calculator from DOE.
"Students want to learn something practical, useful, technical and novel," explained Li, who has received very good feedback on the course. For more information about the Business Case Analysis short course, contact Lori Warneke (firstname.lastname@example.org), 865-218-8174.
GridEd Making Impact around the World
|GA Tech engineering students design and build a PV and battery storage system for a hospital in a remote area of Haiti.|
The team will depart on May 8. Follow their progress at http://pwp.gatech.edu/ece-haiti-sun/
GridEd Making a Life-long Impact
|Professor Insu Kim poses with engineering students at Alabama A&M University|
Insu says "At that time, I realized that active participation for the smooth integration of renewable energy sources to the grid is really important, so I tried to find an academic job in that area and settled down as an assistant professor at my current school. Therefore, I would like to say that GridEd has had a positive and great impact on everyone, including me."
For information on student opportunities, contact Lori Warneke (email@example.com), 865-218-8174.
Georgia Tech Student Innovation Board (SIB) Holds Missions and Horizons Session for Potential Members
Georgia Tech Student Innovation Board members held an informational session for potential members in October. SIB Chair, Morteza Rezaee, presented on GridED and Professor Ron Harley concluded the session by explaining the opportunities available for undergraduate and graduate students in the power industry and encouraged them to be involved in SIB activities.
Rezaee and SIB Vice-Chair, George Vellaringattu, are planning discussion sessions on hot topics in power systems to capture innovative ideas from fellow students which may be helpful in updating course materials, in senior design projects, and in new short courses. They highly encourage other SIB members to initiate such sessions, introduce themselves to fellow students, and explain the opportunities involving the GridEd program.
For more information, Morteza may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404.528.8365.
GridEd Short Courses Providing Value to Affiliate Universities
Maya Prica of Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), one of GridEd's affiliate universities, recently attended the GridEd Short Course "Applications of Smart Inverters" in Baltimore, MD. Below is Maya's account of how she will convert this material into a semester-long course at Case Western.
Can you tell me your planned next steps in creating your course?
Upon my return from EPRI's Smart Inverter short course, I met with Professor Loparo, Chair of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) Department at CWRU to discuss the development of the Power Electronics course. The main idea is to gather information from other universities who have already developed such a course, and bring a systems perspective to the course. We are suggesting the following plan:
- Meet with professors from our departments that are experts in electronic devices to discuss both the course and laboratory development. The idea is to have a laboratory that will accompany the course so students can have hands-on experience.
- Get insight from faculty that have taught Power Electronics courses, including University of Minnesota (Professor Ned Mohan), University of Pittsburgh (Professor Greg Reed), and University of North Carolina in Charlotte (Professor Badrul Chowdhury) to gather information about their experiences.
- The University of Minnesota has on-line material for a first course on Power Electronics and this can be used in conjunction with the more advanced material related to smart inverters and their application in power systems from EPRI's Applications of Smart Inverters short course.
- Seek support to develop the power electronics laboratory, building on our existing facilities.
Also, what would you describe as some of the high points of attending the course and what do you intend to make sure is part of your course?
We will use the EPRI Smart Inverter short course as a straw-man for our course and add additional material to develop a one semester university-level course. The short course on smart inverters was not very mathematical, but it provided material that was up to date. Today, there are a lot of small demo projects around the US that are looking into smart inverters. One of the benefits of the short course was that EPRI brought all those experience together into a day-and-a-half course.
The course was structured very well. Most courses on inverters have a tendency to jump into a black box (input/output) treatment of the device and do not provide sufficient information to explain the interworking of the device. EPRI started with a basic background on smart inverters and configurations that helped me to refresh my experiences and course work from college. The fundamentals of smart inverters were followed by smart inverter applications, challenges and open questions. The open questions provided opportunities for me to become aware of the issues and potential research topics related to smart inverters. The course material is a good start for developing the university course.
47th North American Power Symposium (NAPS)by Monica Mercado, University of Puerto Rico
The 47th North American Power Symposium (NAPS) was held at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte from October 4–6, 2015. NAPS hosted multiple technical panel sessions focused on diverse power topics such as: renewable energy systems, power system optimization and control, smart grid technologies, and others.
The University of North Carolina – Charlotte, in conjunction with the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC), hosted students from all over the U.S. for the Grid Engineering for Accelerated Renewable Energy Development (GEARED) Student Poster Competition.
Students from the U.S. were invited to submit posters in the GEARED poster session. As the GEARED website states, "The session offered an excellent opportunity for students to present preliminary or interim results of their research work." A huge success, student work centered on analytical, computational and experimental studies aimed at solving problems related to operation, control, monitoring, protection and reliability, the economics of power and energy systems and components. A total of 47 students, mostly from graduate programs, were selected to present their research work at the poster session. The University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez was well represented at NAPS 2015 by five students from the Electrical Engineering Department.
|UPRM representation at NAPS: Jose Matagira, Laura Adarme, Naysy López, Monica Mercado e Isaac Jordan at NAPS.|
|Monica Mercado, Prof. Irizarry and the winning poster.|
Each of the student posters was rated based on technical contributions, poster quality, and presenter's understanding of the research project. Monica Mercado, senior undergraduate student from the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department, won 1st Prize with a poster titled "Residential Grid-Tied Photovoltaic Energy System Design in Puerto Rico." Professor Agustín Irizarry has been Monica's advisor since 2014, and was also at NAPS. Texas Instruments sponsored cash awards for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners of the GEARED poster session.
Student Innovation Board Officers Elected
The GridEd Student Innovation Board (SIB) recently elected officers. Morteza Rezaee will serve as Chair; George Vellaringattu will serve as Vice-Chair, and Martin Meskin will serve as Secretary.
SIB members met at the 47th North American Power Symposium (NAPS) in October to discuss scheduled GridEd introduction seminars and the perks of involvement with GridEd to include senior design projects, interaction with industry professionals, and opportunities to present ideas to improve energy education. Also discussed was the SIB role of advisory board and to generate ideas.
Detailed information about the Student Innovation Board and SIB members is available from the Members tab under Students.
Georgia Tech Paving the Way for K-12 Outreach
K-12 outreach activities for the GridEd education initiative are in full swing. Georgia Tech has developed lesson plans, making it easy for high school teachers to incorporate the energy pathway into their curriculum, with the goal of encouraging student interest in STEM careers around energy and renewables. Topics include renewables, non-renewables, energy in the US, energy around the world, energy policies, technologies and trends. The initiative was publicized at the Georgia State STEM Conference for teachers in June.
The university also has a STEM development program with four intercity schools which is funded by GEARED, in addition to the state of Georgia. Students interested in STEM careers apply to the program; and, if accepted, they become interns at Georgia Tech for 1-2 years. The intent is to aid disadvantaged students in gaining entrance to major colleges and universities specializing in science and engineering. The program has been showcased on Georgia Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio.
GEARED Student Workshop - held in conjuction with the 47th Call for Posters - North American Power Symposium (NAPS 2015)October 4-6, 2015