Solar Energy is the fastest-growing energy resource in the United States and the world. This industry just hit an important milestone in 2019 of completing two million solar systems installations in the country and is expected to duplicate this quantity by 2023.
Organizations and home and business owners in our South Texas region are starting to recognize the benefits of this type of renewable energy. And with the drop in the cost of the components and installation of the solar system, the future for this industry seems promising.
Our Program of Engineering Technology, which is part of the College of Engineering and Computer Science of the University of XXXX, is committed to providing our students with the set of skills that make them successful in their careers, but overall, professionals that can contribute to the sustainable development of our region.
In this paper, the authors present the scheme for a new certificate in Solar Energy Systems as a part of the Engineering Technology curriculum. This proposal is supported by our departmental Vision of giving the students a robust technical knowledge through industry certificates along with the degree courses, so they can be industry-ready and able to deliver results as soon as they join the workforce, or as entrepreneurs. The backbone of this proposal lays not only in our existing courses in renewable energies and specifically solar energy systems, but also in the expertise of our faculty, and the relationship of the department with the local industry in this field.
The solar systems installations by themselves, are endeavors that require an understanding of different fields, such a mechanical, electrical, power electronics, photovoltaics, and management. An important characteristic of the proposed certificate is the holistic approach in which we will be preparing the students not only with the technical skills and the specifics of this technology, but also with all the processes associated with this industry; such as local and federal regulations, codes, grants and tax incentives, and the requirements to connect to the grid of the utility companies.
This project represents an important effort within our department, and we believe it has an important content of innovation in engineering education that we would like to share with the ASEE community.
Gonzalez-Rodriguez, J. A., & Edinbarough, I. (2021, July), Solar Energy Certificate for Engineering Technology Students Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37722
2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access