News
Dec 16, 2015

FVCC Offers New Solar Panel Technology Course

Flathead Valley Community College electrical technology students install solar panels in December 2014 at the college campus farm’s greenhouse. The project was phase one of a two-part project that was made possible through a grant and donations by Flathead Electric Cooperative, Gross Electric, Crescent Electric Supply and Platt Electric Supply.
Flathead Valley Community College electrical technology students install solar panels in December 2014 at the college campus farm’s greenhouse. The project was phase one of a two-part project that was made possible through a grant and donations by Flathead Electric Cooperative, Gross Electric, Crescent Electric Supply and Platt Electric Supply.

Flathead Valley Community College will introduce a new course this spring for anyone interested in learning how to design and install a battery-based solar photovoltaic energy system.

“Fundamentals of Battery-Based Solar Photovoltaic Systems” was designed to teach students the basic principles and technologies of solar photovoltaic energy systems, including the purpose, applications, and design criteria for different types of charge controllers, batteries and battery-based inverters. Students who successfully complete the course will have developed the knowledge and skills to install their own solar panels.

In addition to learning the fundamentals, students in the course will gain hands-on installation experience by completing phase two of the solar panel installation project, funded by a $5,000 FVCC Foundation Enhancement Grant and by a $3,000 U.S. Department of Education grant under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act. Once complete, the installed solar panels will cut the campus farm’s greenhouse electricity costs in half.

Instructing the course will be Bill Gross, a master electrician and owner of Gross Electric. He will bring to the course over 35 years of experience serving Northwest Montana in alternative energy design and installation services. Gross will be joined by Carol Vincent, electrical technology instructor at the college. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from South Dakota State University and received training in solar electric through Solar Energy International in Paonia, Colo.

The four-credit course will meet Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. beginning January 21 and ending May 12, 2016.

For more information, call 756-3604 or email cvincent@fvcc.edu.