Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lake Cumberland Technology Center Starts Education in Solar

Yesterday, the students in the Electrical Circuits Lab II began learning how to connect solar panels in series and parallel. Students will investigate the difference in wiring the entire 24-panel array in series to get maximum voltage versus wiring two sections of 12 panels in parallel to increase amperage. Lyndsey Ayers and Brad Stephens are both ETCA members and are enrolled in this class. They are both pictured in this slideshow!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

RCHS Energy Technology Career Academy Beta Class Goes to the Roof!

RCHS Sophomore ETCA Beta Class get to go to the roof! After much pleading, I was allowed to take the students up on the roof to show them the size and assembly of the solar array helping to power their school.

SunAir Systems - The Installer

I added one more link for your convenience! It is the link to SunAir Systems, the company that was contracted to install the solar arrays at both Adair and Russell County High Schools. Dave Merrill, the owner and installer, was a pleasure to work with and was willing to teach me as we went! I learned so much from him! Thank you, Dave! I would recommend SunAir to anyone interested in installing an array!

RCHS is Online!!

Good Morning!
I just checked, and RCHS is online so that we can view the kWh produced by this system anytime. Copy and paste this link into you address bar to view! So far, this array has generated 215 kWh for the school. I know that is not an enormous amount of electricity, but it is 215 kWh that Russell County School District does not have to pay for! It is only April, too! Can't wait to see what these systems do in the summer!

The title of the page shows LWC Energy Technology Career Academy, but it will be changed soon to "Russell County High".

I will also put this link under "Favorite Links" on the blog home page.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

ACHS Monitoring System is UP and Running!

If you paste the link above into the address bar on your computer, Adair County High's power output graph and numbers are available for you to view anytime! Isn't that awesome!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The final day of the project at ACHS!

Well, today Thursday, April 8th, concludes the installation at ACHS and the entire solar project that was funded by the ARC grant. After the installation was complete, we went back to RCHS to change a jumper location in the inverter panel so that crazy "derating" error would clear. After verifying this fix, Dave and I parted ways at RCHS. He hadn't seen his wife in 10 days, so he was anxious to get on the road. He had about a 10-11 hour drive ahead of him and it was about 3 p.m. when we finished. Overall, this project was a wonderful learning experience for me, and I hope for those students who were able to be involved. We still have to replace the damaged panel as soon as AEE solar gets it to us. I have a claim in, and hopefully the panel will show up sometime this week or the next. I feel confident that I can make the replacement. I'll just need a little help getting it on the roof!
That's all for now. Again, special thanks to all those involved in this successful installation!


Friday, April 9, 2010

ACHS Solar Project - Day 1

So now it is Wednesday, the first day of the ACHS installation. This time, I didn't wait to call for some extra manual labor. I thought of Macgyver first, since he is on the football team and would be good with the heavy lifting! Then, Jacob. He is a real "go-getter". Nothing against the girls, but there was a lot of heavy objects and I needed the biggest bang for my buck! They met me at school at 9:00. I drove us (me, Jacob, and Macgyver) down to the Maintenance garage where all the materials were delivered. While we were unpacking and loading the trailer, Dave was scoping out the roof for the best placement of the array. Yes, I would love to have them on the front of the roof, but it is really more important to be close to the maintenance room where we will make connections. See, if you run electrical lines too far, a voltage drop will be experienced....and we need as much voltage as possilble so that we produce as much power as possible! Power=Volts x Amps!

I found out from Lowe's that their computer was messed up and they could not get us any more 4" x 8" blocks. Hubbard's had the right blocks and agreed to deliver them late Tuesday. Well, I went by to check on the delivery, and good thing I did. They delivered 8" x 8" blocks! So, I called Jeff at Hubbard's this morning to get this corrected because it would hold up the installation if we did not have the blocks Wednesday morning. And I definitely wanted Macgyver and Jacob there to help get blocks on the roof.

At 6:30 this morning I called Hubbard's. Jeff brought the blocks over around 9:00 (perfect timing). He was very helpful because he had a lift that helped get the pallet of blocks up to the awning over the cafeteria. We then carried the blocks over the edge of the building to the job site. Since Jeff was such a nice guy, he agreed to lift the heavy panels up to the awning, too! Thank you, Jeff! After all the heavy lifting was complete, I let Jacob and Macgyver go. I finished up the conduit and wiring, while Dave mounted the inverter box in the Maintenance room.

At the end of the day, we had built the racking system, installed the panels, run the rack's ground wire, bent and secured conduit (to the edge of the roof). Tomorrow looks like mostly electrical hook-ups and testing! Can't wait!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Well, today was the final day at RCHS! We finished up today at about 5:30...a couple of hours earlier than Monday! Today consisted of running conduit, pulling wires, landing wires, mounting modules, making blocks for conduit support, testing voltages, and clean-up. I had a special helper today - Connor, my 6 year-old son. He measured, and marked, and helped a lot with clean up! There is an awesome shot of him in front of the solar array....I have it captioned, "This is my future!" It truely is his generation's future. Educating our children is the best thing we can do for them in there life...besides loving them, of course! Ok...getting mushy. We start at ACHS tomorrow with rack assembly and solar array construction. Feel free to come to the back of the High School and check us out. Jacob Burton and Macgyver Manning, two of my sophomore ETCA students, are going to help load all the parts and get them to the roof! Unfortunately, Hubbard's Building Supply delivered the wrong size cement blocks....which means that I will be going to get the right size tomorrow morning first thing so that we can get an early start. It gets hot on the roof; so doing as much heavy lifting early is to our advantage! Talk to you tomorrow.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Day One - RCHS Solar Array Project

Day one was a lot of manual labor, to say the least! Dave Merrill, with Sun-Air Systems (the contractor) and I were the only installers for most of the day. After handing the racking system and 14 solar arrays up a ladder, we just couldn't get the concrete blocks up the ladder on our own! I called and ETCA member, Jose Rodriguez and asked him to bring a friend and help get the concrete blocks to the roof. He was glad to help for a little cash! He did a great job, as expected. Joe Edmunds, Jose's friend was a great help, too!
I have to be honest...I am sore in places I didn't know could hurt! It's been a while since I performed such strenuous manual labor! We had a nice breeze on the roof most of the time. I have an official "farmer's tan"! It was a great day! We got the entire 14-panel system mounted and grounded. Tomorrow is mostly running conduit, mounting the inverter and data collection system, and tying everything into a couple of breakers in the main power panel.
RCHS Maintenance crew came to get a review of what we were doing and were very supportive! Thanks to Mr. Blakey, Asa, Scott, Jose, and Joe! Looking foward to tomorrow!