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Solar laboratory launches at Chesapeake Campus

Tidewater Community College’s Renewable Energies Technologies program now has a working solar laboratory on the roof of the Chesapeake Campus George B. Pass building. A working commercial and industrial solar array system, the lab provides students with hands-on training for the emerging field of solar energy.

Producing solar energy involves liberating electrons to produce currents and make electricity. TCC students learn about this process and then get instruction on how to install photovoltaic and thermal systems. They also learn to wire everything to the electrical grid of the building, so that the power can be used by occupants.

“We teach students how to take solar modules and racking systems and install them, so they can start careers in renewable energy or launch their own businesses,” says Thomas Stout, program head of the Electromechanical Controls Technology, which includes the Renewable Energy Technologies certificate program.

“What we are teaching can be easily implemented because, once trained, students can buy these systems and install them for commercial or home use,” Stout says. “From there, the sky is the limit.”

The energy generated by the Pass building solar lab can be viewed on a monitor in the lobby of the building. The readings include total Kilowatt hours generated to date, as well as a tutorial about how solar energy works. To view the deck monitoring system, click here:

“We are on the cutting-edge of this technology in the Commonwealth,” Stout adds. “The ultimate goal: to provide clients with a clean, economical energy source.”