Students install solar panels on Jones Hall
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012
Updated: Friday, April 27, 2012 18:04
Jones Hall got a face lift, courtesy of Energy Production and Distribution Technology students at Kirkwood Community College.
A 4.8-kilowatt solar array made up of two strings of 10 panels was put up on the west side of the building March 30. The array will be used by students as part of their curriculum but is also a part of long-term energy sustainability plans, Jason Gideon said.
Gideon is a student in the Energy Production and Distribution Technology Program. He said he was chosen to lead the project because of his experience in photovoltaics. Gideon is president of Energy Consultants Group, a company that is not affiliated with Kirkwood but focuses on the use of solar energy as an alternative energy source.
Gideon explained that two strings were put up so one can be taken down and put back up by students while the other can continue to generate electricity.
The electricity will be used as an offset to the amount of electricity Kirkwood currently uses but will never see the grid, Gideon said.
Dean of Industrial Technologies Jeff Mitchell said Kirkwood has a couple of other “short-term goals” to reduce energy consumption.
Within the next six months, Mitchell said, Kirkwood plans to install a solar-thermal heating unit and a tracking photovoltaic array.
Kirkwood is making “great strides” in renewable energy, Mitchell said. Kirkwood is in “the top 10 percent easily as far as colleges are concerned,” he added, “and we are showing no signs of slowing.”