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BSC Engineering and Computer Science Students Receiving a Short Course in Solar Panel Training in the Future Energy Electronics Center at Virginia Tech

  • Created
    Friday, October 12 2012
  • Created by
    Jim Nelson/Media Relations - (304) 327-4103 jnelson@bluefieldstate.edu

vt bsc solar panel course1 vt bsc solar panel course2
BSC faculty members visited the Virginia Tech Future Energy Electronics Center on August 29 to finalize a collaboration accord. Pictured (left-to-right) are: Dr. Anthony Woart, Professor of Sociology and Co-investigator, Dr. Shannon Bowling/Dean of the BSC School of Engineering Technology and Computer Science, Dr. Tesfaye Belay, the principal investigator, Professor Roy Pruitt/Engineering Technology and Co-investigator, Virginia Tech graduate students Andy Poush and Ben York, and VT Professor Jih-Sheng (Jason) Lai.

A Bluefield State College faculty delegation recently traveled to Virginia Tech to receive a Solar Panel training session provided by Virginia Tech.  Pictured (front row, left-to-right) during the session are Dr. Shannon Bowling (Bluefield State College) Professor Jason Lai (Virginia Tech), Virginia Tech graduate students Ben York and Thomas LaBella, (back row, left-to-right) Dr. Bob Riggins (BSC), Professor Roy Pruett (BSC), Virginia Tech graduate students Nathan Kees and Andy Poush, and Dr. Tesfaye Belay (BSC).

(Bluefield)--Collaboration between Bluefield State College and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech is underway to provide hands-on training for 15 BSC students. The students will learn how to install solar panels and grid systems in Dr. Jih-Sheng (Jason) Lai's lab at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Professor Lai is an internationally recognized expert in energy-efficient electronic technologies for transportation and industrial automation. All course instruction will take place for three hours per day for five days over the course of the semester.

In return, a five-member team of solar and alternative energy scholars, led by Professor Lai, presented a lecture to more than 30 students and faculty at BSC on October 1. In their lectures, the Virginia Tech visitors emphasized that solar panel utilization has enormous potential as a natural energy source in this region. On October 5, BSC Professors Bob Riggins and Roy Pruett took Bluefield State students to Virginia Tech for the first of five classes to be offered over a two month period. The classes will provide hands-on training involving solar energy. At the end of the training, BSC students will receive solar panel installation demonstrations and supplies that they can then utilize while practicing solar panel installation at BSC.

"Virginia Tech will teach the basic switching amplifier principle and provide each participating student with a Class-D audio amplifier kit that can play MP3 music with solar power," Dr. Tesfaye Belay, BSC Professor, noted. "A primary benefit of this project will be the involvement of undergraduate students and high school students throughout the entire process of the solar project, thereby enhancing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education at BSC." The solar panel research project is supported by a $100,000 awarded to Dr. Belay from the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Department of Energy.