Shoreline’s Clean Energy Technology students wow Public Health Laboratories with solar installation proposal

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The Washington State Department of Health’s Public Health Laboratories campus in Shoreline, WA.

This winter, Shoreline’s Clean Energy Technology (CET) program students got real-world training on how to work with clients in an industry setting. In January, following months of research, students in the Zero Energy Design Practicum class presented an in-depth solar installation proposal to a board of managers and directors at the State of Washington’s Public Health Laboratories.

“Within the CET program here at Shoreline, students learn a wide range of skills in preparation for future employment in a renewable energy or high-performance building design field,” said CET Program Director Louise Petruzzella. “Conducting high-level analysis and learning the skills to present recommendations based on those research findings is an important part of that career preparation.”

That analysis started during this past summer quarter, when advanced program students participated in the Zero Energy Design Practicum, which is based on a curriculum aimed at presenting students with real-world solar photovoltaic (PV) system design situations and face-to-face customer interactions.

The students were given a variety of projects, including the opportunity to design a solar energy system for the Washington State Public Health Laboratories. The large laboratory campus, located in Shoreline, provided students with a unique challenge, as energy requirements and building layout and composition are more complicated than most typical residential situations.

A sample slide from Shoreline's CET students' proposal to the Washington State Department of Health's Public Health Laboratories.

A sample slide from Shoreline’s CET students’ proposal to the Washington State Department of Health’s Public Health Laboratories.

For this specific project, the students were able to experience an on-site tour of the property, during which they were allowed to analyze the building’s current energy and HVAC systems and perform a solar site analysis to gauge the viability of a potential solar power system. After the information gathering period, the class spent the following weeks developing a potential system design for the laboratory, and put together a presentation outlining their plan.

“This is high-level, real-world work these students are doing in our program,” said Petruzzella. “We really put them through their paces here so that when they graduate they are able to enter the workforce with the skills and knowledge employers are seeking.”

The students presented their findings to a board of 10 managers and directors at the Public Health Laboratories. Through their submission to the panel, students were able to educate laboratory personnel in the intricacies, challenges, and benefits of a solar installation, as well as to their specific project’s efficacy.

“It was an invaluable setting for a presentation,” said Petruzzella, “providing students with experience as subject matter experts, as well as an authentic technical sales environment.”

And the students knocked it out of the park. “They really nailed the presentation,” said Petruzzella. “One common denominator amongst our CET students is that they are true professionals and take their future careers within the industry seriously. They’re the next generation of CET leaders, and I think that really came across in their presentation to the board. I got a lot of compliments from the client; it was a great experience for all involved.”

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