West Virginia University at Parkersburg
300 Campus Drive Parkersburg WV 26104
Phone: 304-424-8203 | Fax: 304-424-8315
WVU Parkersburg receives $250,000 grant to develop solar energy programs.
CONTACT: Dr. Rhonda Richards, senior vice president for academic affairs, 304-424-8242.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
West Virginia University at Parkersburg is poised to become the solar energy trainer for the region.
The college is the recipient of a $250,000 West Virginia Green Collar Job Training Program grant from the West Virginia Division of Energy and the West Virginia Community and Technical College System.
The state program is designed to develop green-collar jobs training programs in the areas of solar, wind, building energy performance and energy codes which lead to high-wage careers and complement economic development efforts of the state.
“WVU Parkersburg’s project will provide technicians needed for various regional jobs in the growing occupational areas of solar energy technology,” Rhonda Richards, senior vice president for academic affairs, noted.
In addition, WVU Parkersburg will serve as a faculty development resource center in solar energy for other institutions in the state community and technology college system.
“As more energy-related federal incentives and initiatives become available, a rapid growth in green technology workers is expected,” Dr. Richards said. “It is our goal to be at the forefront to meet these growing demands.”
With the grant, WVU Parkersburg will develop two programs: a Solar Energy Technology Certificate and an SET Associate of Applied Science degree. Both the certificate and degree will feature traditional and blended course formats that include online delivery of content supplemented with hands-on, skills-based lab activities.
“Students will learn to access locations for solar energy utilization; install, maintain and repair solar equipment for domestic hot water heating; integrate solar systems into existing commercial and residential heating and cooling systems; install, maintain and repair photovoltaic solar panels and perform electrical installation of auxiliary electrical equipment,” she noted.
In addition, the solar energy programs will complement the college’s current career ladder programs in energy assessment and management technology as a pathway toward its Bachelor of Applied Technology degree.
SET graduates are expected to find employment with such employers as electrical and construction contractors, engineering firms, public and private utilities, energy consultants, training centers, energy equipment companies and related businesses. The curricula will be designed to integrate solar energy practices and techniques into construction and labor trade organizations' apprenticeship programs as well.
The grant funding will go toward program development, related program equipment, and funding of faculty positions for three years. College officials anticipate implementation of the programs in fall 2010.