||Brad Meyer, Director of Public and Media Relations
Office: (567) 661-7421 Cell: (419) 351-5253
Owens Community College Harnesses Sun's Energy With First-Ever Student Installed Solar Panel
With the focus on environmental friendliness, Owens Community College
is now harnessing the sun's energy to help light a classroom thanks to
10 Workforce and Community Services students. As part of their
Photovoltaic Training Program instruction, the students installed the
College's first-ever solar panel behind the Center for Development and
"Owens Community College's Photovoltaic Training Program provides
students with innovative and cutting edge instruction for careers within
the emerging field of environmental technology," said Joe Peschel,
Owens coordinator of customized training. "Students participating in
the course are learning that solar power is not just a concept, but a
reality that will help create a sustainable energy future."
According to Peschel, the student-installed solar panel is just the
first of many more modules slated for construction on the Toledo-area
Campus as future classes complete the Photovoltaic Training Program.
"The additional solar panels will allow the College to distribute
even more renewable energy throughout the Center for Development and
Training building," he stated.
Twenty modules comprise one solar panel. Photovoltaic cells within each
panel absorb the sun's rays, creating a current of power that is
directed to a substation and eventually into electricity for the
building. One solar panel can generate up to 1,000 watts of power.
"Solar energy is a great alternative source to conventional power,"
said John Witte, Owens adjunct faculty member for the Photovoltaic
Training Program, and co-partner of Advanced Distributed Generation LLC,
a company that oversees the installation of solar panels. "Renewable
energy is the wave of the future and society's demands for solar panel
installation is on the rise. Innovative academic curriculum such as the
College's Photovoltaic Training Program exposes students to an
exciting industry and the growing career field as photovoltaic
installers and integrators."
Individuals attending Owens' five-day apprentice training program
receive instruction within the areas of electricity and photovoltaic
systems and theory. Course content includes system sizing and
construction, codes and standards, battery safety, interconnection
safety, troubleshooting, and maintenance. Installation practices related
to project management, adapting mechanical and electrical design, and
system commissioning are also highlighted. The hands-on course concludes
with the design and installation of a grid-tied photovoltaic system.
For Owens student Gregory Benton, the Photovoltaic Training Program has
been an eye opening experience. "Solar energy is great alternative
energy source for our environment," said the Swanton resident, who has
career aspirations of operating his own solar energy business. "This
course has inspired me to want to learn even more about renewable
Students successfully completing the Photovoltaic Training Program and
additional work experience qualify to take the national test and receive
certification as a system integrator.
Owens' Workforce and Community Services is dedicated to providing
customer-driven workforce development and job training. The
learning-centered approach focuses on developing and enhancing
professional skills to meet the needs of the community, customizing
training in the areas of computer applications, allied health education,
apprenticeship-related training and skilled trades.
Organizations donating the solar panels as part of Owens'
Photovoltaic Training Program were First Solar and American Electric
Power (through the Foundation for Environmental Education), while Vanner
Inc. provided the inverter used to convert DC voltage, produced by the
panels, to AC voltage.
The next Photovoltaic Training Program course offering is slated to
occur in March 2006. For more information about the program, call (567)
661-7163 or 1-800-GO-OWENS, Ext. 7163.
Owens Community College is one of the fastest-growing higher
educational institutions in Ohio. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area
campuses, Owens serves more than 45,000 credit and non-credit students,
making it the number one choice for new college students. Owens is
committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched
affordability. Owens Community College offers over 130 program areas in
Agriculture, Business, Fine and Performing Arts, Health, Public Service,
Skilled Trades, and Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens
students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor's degree with
a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.