Friday, April 6, 2012

More of the real work...

Regular readers will know that I'm a fan of helping students become as useful as possible, including learning to do things with their hands, especially when the things they do save energy and climate emissions.

In this most recent case, students in Energy and Energy Efficiency class helped lower our campus wind testing tower to fit a new safety cable and a pyranometer (AKA solarimeter) to measure the solar power available on site next to the large 5KW solar array on the Unity House.

The safety cable will be used to check students of Unity College and KVCC on industrial tower climbing safety and technique.

The pyranometer will measure the watts of sunshine per meter squared per hour and log those data every ten minutes to a computer memory card. We'll be able to match the data against production data from the Unity House. In particular, we'll be able to tell when the solar array is not producing what it could be producing, because it's a fixed and not tracking array.

Along the way to completing these tasks students learned some basic metalwork. Several were checked out on they various shop tools such as the machine hacksaw and the drill press. They also learned some more advanced skills such as drill sharpening and the use of pilot holes for proper drilling.

I'm looking forward to seeing the view from the top of the tower next week when the safety line work is done.

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