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Award-winning Solar Van Project Earns Funding for New Wind and Solar System, Planned to Offset Power Usage and Provide Firsthand Renewable Energy Experience for Students
TAYLOR, Texas, Oct. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Taylor High School (THS) hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday to celebrate the installation of the school's new renewable energy system. Executives from IEEE, State Energy Conservation Office (SECO), Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), Heliovolt and Taylor High School Duck University participated in the proceedings.
"The installation of the school's new renewable energy system and today's ribbon-cutting ceremony represent an exciting time at Taylor High School," said Danny Ward, THS principal. "In addition to offsetting the school's energy costs, the new system provides students the opportunity to learn about renewable energy from an active system. We are extremely fortunate to have worked with so many great partners, like IEEE, The State of Texas, Heliovolt, ERCOT, SECO, Qioptiq Space Technology and Atonometrics."
The new renewable energy system consists of a 33-kilowatt solar array and a 1-kilowatt wind turbine, with an integrated computer monitoring system. This project was initiated as a result of the school's Beginners Learning Alternative Designs for Energy (BLADE) Club winning first place in last year's IEEE High School Photovoltaic Design Competition at Austin Solar Day. Leveraging its prize money awarded by IEEE and Heliovolt, BLADE was able to secure $120,000 of funding from The State of Texas for this renewable energy project.
"High school students need more exposure to STEM fields," said Mary Ward-Callan, managing director, IEEE Technical Activities. "Austin Solar Day and the High School Photovoltaic Design Competition are just two of the quality resources and activities that IEEE offers where students can learn firsthand how engineers make a significant impact on the world around them."
Mentored by ERCOT, the BLADE Club created a Solar Van, a dependable and efficient power source by attaching a series of six commonplace 12V marine batteries that collect and store energy from handmade solar panels on the roof of a minivan, so it provides power to multipurpose electrical outlets. The students initially used the Van's 6,000 watt-hours of AC power for a television and video game systems for the students, and has since been used to power the screen for movie nights in Taylor.
"You can only learn so much from a book," said Jonathan Rose, planning engineer and THS BLADE Club mentor. "The IEEE High School Photovoltaic Design Competition motivated us to build the BLADE Solar Van and, in the process, provided an excellent hands-on learning experience. We're excited that the Club's Solar Van first-place victory and the funding from IEEE, Heliovolt and The State of Texas, afforded the school with a broader renewable energy learning source with the school's new solar and wind system, as well as provided a constant source of inspiration to the children that they can make a difference."
For more information about the IEEE High School Photovoltaic Design Competition, please visit: http://www.ieee-pvsc.org/PVSC38/pages/communities-solar_school.php
IEEE is a large, global professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Through its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities, IEEE is the trusted voice on a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics. Learn more at http://www.ieee.org.
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