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Students Prep Site for Solar-Panel Installation

One student fills a wheelbarrow for his classmate's shuttle to the worksite Waiting their turn Supervised by Wayne E. Gebhart, assistant professor of electrical technology/occupations (in blue shirt), and Harry W. Hintz, instructor of construction technology, students pour concrete to set support poles A vibrator is dipped into the curing concrete to eliminate air pockets for a stronger result A student wields a trowel to smooth the finished pourOn an appropriately sunny Thursday afternoon, students from Penn College’s School of Construction and Design Technologies set the poles that will anchor an array of solar panels southwest of the Victorian House. With no convenient way to drive the concrete truck to the job site (which is surrounded by the Victorian House, the Thompson Professional Development Center and temporary modular classrooms), a wheelbarrow brigade of electrical and building construction students ferried concrete from a nearby parking lot. The panels are being installed under a Solar Scholars grant, awarded by the Sustainable Energy Fundto support the design and building of a campus photovoltaic system. Penn College was among the institutions represented at a faculty-attended energy education conference in July 2008, making the commitment to integrate renewable-energy studies into the curriculum. Each of those campuses plans a grid-tied solar installation that will help power an academic building, student housing or other facility; Penn College sought and received funding to reduce the carbon footprint of the Victorian House, which already is connected to a ground-source heat pump system itself a renewable energy.

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