The Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center (ATEEC) works with high school and community college environmental and energy programs across the nation, many of which have developed highly successful programs that are strongly supported by their communities and local business and industry. ATEEC News periodically highlights some of these schools, programs, and instructors that can serve as models for other schools interested in introducing students to these fields.
With a growing need for solar installers in the San Antonio area, St. Philip’s College established the Power Generation and Alternative Energy program in 2008. The college was awarded a grant from the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) to develop the Power Generation and Alternative Energy Associate of Applied Science degree program, which provides students with skills and knowledge required to work in the electrical power generation industry. Students are introduced to conventional coal- and natural gas- powered generation as well as renewable technologies such as wind and solar power. Topics of instruction include DC/AC circuits, solid state devices, electromechanical fundamentals, power generation fundamentals, wind technology, solar technology, and robotic fundamentals. Students complete an internship at the end of the program.
Daniel Sherry joined the program in 2010. Mr. Sherry has an extensive and varied background, serving in the Army for over 16 years and working in industry for 14 years. In addition, Dan has 14 years of experience as an electrician and developed and taught an electrical trades program in Hondo, Texas, with the Windham School District before joining St. Philip’s College. To enhance his knowledge and skills in sustainable energy, Dan attended ATEEC’s Sustainable Energy Education & Training (SEET) Technology workshop at the Colorado Energy Research Institute of the Colorado School of Mines in June of 2011. He was invited back to the SEET workshop last June to serve as a mentor and guest lecturer for the participating community college and high school instructors.
As of May 2012, sixteen students have graduated from the St. Philip's College Power Generation and Alternative Energy program. The graduates have gotten jobs in power generation, solar energy, general industry, and research. Some of the graduates have been hired by Texas Solar Power Company as solar installers, earning a starting wage of around $14.00 per hour. The local power generation/utility company, CPS Energy, has hired graduates for jobs calibrating instrumentation, working in the boiler plant, or as linemen. Wages at CPS Energy start at around $18.00 to $20.00 per hour. Another employer of the graduates is Southwest Research Institute, which is a research lab for multiple disciplines and varied industries. Two of the students that graduated created a solar-powered device that placed 1st in SkillsUSA State competition and placed 3rd in the national competition. Students may be eligible for tuition assistance from various scholarships including Student Engagement grants to the San Antonio Clean Technology Forum.
This past summer the college conducted a Solar Photovoltaic Train-the-Trainer program for high school and middle school instructors from the Construction Careers Academy to prepare them to teach solar courses.
St. Philip’s College is a charter member of the Texas Renewable Energy Education Consortium whose goal is to further education and disseminate information on renewable energy. The Solar PV program is approved by the North American Board of Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) and is an Entry Level Exam provider. To learn more about St. Philip’s Power Generation and Alternative Energy Program, contact Dan Sherry at email@example.com