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NC Solar Center Installs New Skystream Demonstration Wind Turbine System to Enhance Training and Development Programs

The North Carolina Solar Center (NCSC) is the proud recipient of a new Southwest Windpower Skystream 3.7 small wind system – one of the most widely deployed residential/small wind turbines on the market. It is located at the Solar Center’s test and training facility adjacent to North Carolina State University’s McKimmon Center. This system has a rated capacity of 2.4 kW, which includes remote monitoring of system performance. A wind turbine system of this size should offset up to half of a typical home’s electricity usage each month.

The turbine, installed by Baker Renewable Energy, is mounted on a 45-foot, tilt-up, segmented monopole tower located in the training annex at the Solar House. This addition to the training facility will enhance two major NC Solar Center training and development program areas.

“The NCSC training and workforce development program will utilize the turbine as a crucial, practical component to complement the theoretical content of the program. This allows the 50 plus engineers, contractors and other professionals taking the course at NCSC each year to fully develop a well-rounded understanding of wind systems, ” said Maria O’Farrell, training programs manager at NCSC.

The weeklong, small wind course is a part of the NC Solar Center’s Renewable Technologies Diploma Series that is offered biannually. This five day workshop entitled, “REIV: Electric Generation with Wind Systems,” is led by Ken Starcher, Director of the Alternative Energy Institute at Texas A& M. This comprehensive workshop examines selling small wind systems, site selection and optimization, wind system components (towers, turbines, inverters) as well as installation, safety, and regular operating conditions.

The turbine will also be integrated with the Solar Center’s National Science Foundation-funded Green Research for Incorporating Data in the Classroom (GRIDc) program. With sensors connected to the Skystream, real-time data will be collected so that it may be analyzed, synthesized and ultimately evaluated by researchers, educators and students. The data is currently being used in the development of instructional units designed for engineering, teacher education and construction technologies.

“This project provides a data-rich resource to study renewable energy technologies and make informed decisions in a living classroom providing resources for future engineers, technologists, and scientists. The newly installed Skystream will further enhance the project providing curricula in wind energy, which is one of the fastest growing segments in renewables,” said Dr. Pam Carpenter, clean energy workforce program manager at the NC Solar Center.

About the North Carolina Solar Center
Created in 1988, the North Carolina Solar Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University (NCSU), works closely with state and local government and the renewable energy industry. It manages and maintains the NCSU Solar House and serves as a clearinghouse for innovative, green energy technologies through research and demonstration, technical assistance, education, outreach and training. For more information please visit: http://www.ncsc.ncsu.edu.

NCSC Renewable Technologies Diploma Series: http://www.ncsc.ncsu.edu/RETDS.php
NCSC GRIDc Program: http://www.gridc.net/

Media Contact: Shannon Helm, NC Solar Center, 919-515-0353 shannon_helm@ncsu.edu