Dual enrollment and Foundations help student earn degree earlier.

RCC students L-r: Alex Smith, Eric Ruiz and Perla Andrade, in front of six solar panels used in their project. All are 2008 graduates, Smith from Crater, Ruiz and Andrade from Eagle Point.

RCC students L-r: Alex Smith, Eric Ruiz and Perla Andrade, in front of six solar panels used in their project. All are 2008 graduates, Smith from Crater, Ruiz and Andrade from Eagle Point.

Two members of the EPHS Class of 2008 graduated from Rogue Community College on June 13 with an AES degree in electronics. Perla Andrade and Eric Ruiz, former EPHS graduates, and Alex Smith, a Crater High graduate spent their senior year under a dual enrollment program with their high school and RCC.

On June 11, the three students demonstrated their solar energy capstone project. The six panels (pictured above) are the collecting point for their solar plant. In addition, the plant includes a charge controller to allow a steady current, batteries to store the electricity and an inverter that produces clean, stable power after the power is converted from DC to AC.

The goal of the two electronic works bench stations the students put together was to power two computers with switching power supplies, one bench   DMM, a 5MHz function generator, one AC power supply, one DC power supply and one oscilloscope.

With all of the devices turned on, 275 watts were consumed and 450 watts were used at full load, including two laps.

The project will produce enough electricity to power half the program’s high-tech equipment in the first-year lab. The effort was funded by $10,000 in grants from the Morris Family Foundation and the RCC Foundation.

“This project is just a part of RCC’s strategy to prepare students to work with emerging technologies,” said Dave McKeen, department head of Electronics Technology.

The students carried out the work as their capstone project for the Prototype Development and Documentation class. Work included researching energy requirements, available solar panels and battery chargers, and selecting the equipment needed to convert power from DC to AC. Future students will be able to take the project further, said McKeen.

Board members from the Morris Family Foundation and the RCC Foundation were in attendance at the June 11 demonstration.

Starting this fall, RCC will offer an Introduction to Renewable Energy Systems class. The RCC and Morris Family foundations are also assisting in the development of a one-year certificate program in renewable energy. If approved next year, the certificate will begin fall term 2010.

For more information, contact McKeen at 245-7844 or Jennifer Wheatley, executive director, RCC Foundation at 956-7291.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent

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