Taking the Lead in Training Students for Green Collar Jobs

New England Tech Takes Lead in Training Students for Green Collar Jobs

New England Institute of Technology (New England Tech), located in Warwick, Rhode Island, is making an investment in its energy future, and in the future of its students by preparing them for “green collar jobs”. New England Tech, will break ground next month on a 156-foot-tall wind turbine at its Access Road Campus next to Route 95. At the same time, it will also mount 135 SolarWorld solar electric (photovoltaic, or “PV”) panels on its Electrical Technology Building at the same campus. Using solar electric and wind turbine technologies, New England Tech will demonstrate the possibilities of renewable energy generation for both academic purposes and for economic and environmental concerns.

Alteris Renewables, with an office in Bristol, Rhode Island, will oversee both installations. The planned solar electric system size is 23,630 watts, or approximately 24 kW. Two Solectria brand solar inverters, manufactured in Massachusetts, will convert direct current to alternating current. The wind turbine is a Northwind 100 turbine manufactured by Northern Power of Vermont. The turbine has 100 kilowatts of rated power and is extremely quiet as it spins and produces electricity. With an estimated average annual wind speed of 5.3 m/s (11.9 mph), it is estimated that New England Tech could generate 164,029 kW hours annually. Both the wind turbine and the solar electric system will be connected to National Grid’s electric system. Through recently enacted “net metering” and “net billing” laws, National Grid will credit New England Tech with any extra electricity fed into the grid. Using U.S. Department of Energy statistics, New England Tech has calculated that the combined power produced by the wind turbine and the solar electric panels could generate enough electricity to power 18 to 20 homes annually.

Starting in Fall 2009, the curriculum in New England Tech’s Associate Degree program in Electrical Technology will be expanded to include renewable energy generation. Topics covered will include various renewable energy sources such as wind power, photovoltaic power, hydro power, fuel cells, tidal power, solar hot water and geo-thermal power. Students will examine the components, installation, environmental impact, maintenance, practicality, site sustainability, and local regulations pertaining to renewable energy sources and will track the energy produced by New England Tech’s wind turbine and photovoltaic panels including net metering analysis and economic impact. Upon completion, students will be prepared to take the national certification exam offered by the North American Board or Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).