Awards Presented at Solar Energy Forum

A number of renewable energy projects were recognized by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council during the Solar Energy Forum 2001 in the U.S. capital.

WASHINGTON, DC, US, 2001-04-26 <SolarAccess.com> Two solar school projects received awards, while three others were given to solar and wind projects on an island near New England, a market transformation program in the Midwest, and a fuel cell project using anaerobic digester gas. “Working with schools on solar energy projects and education is a high priority,” says IREC chair Vicki Colello. “That’s one of the reasons we were pleased to see more schools this year apply for the Innovation Award. The two school projects that won each approach getting schools to go solar in different ways but the results are similar with the students, teachers and the community winners.” CSG Services submitted the “Watts on Schools” application on behalf of 19 schools in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. The initiative is one of the largest solar schools programs in the U.S. with a total capacity of 76 kW at 19 schools. Last year, the PV systems generated an average of 6,266 kWh for each school and 119,045 kWh total. The participants include Abilene Independent School District Planetarium, Abilene, TX; Childress HS, Childress, TX; Calallen HS, Corpus Christ, TX; Del Rio HS, Del Rio, TX; El Campo Middle School, El Campo, TX; Fayetteville HS, Fayetteville, AR; Harlingen, TX; Jefferson Middle School, Jefferson, TX; Martin HS Health Sciences Magnet School, Laredo, TX; Spring Hill Jr. HS and Pine Tree Jr. HS, Longview TX; Mineola HS, Mineola, TX; Mission HS, Mission, TX; Presidio HS, Presidio, TX; Central HS, San Angelo, TX; Sonora HS, Sonora, TX; North DeSoto Jr. HS, Stonewall, LA; Trice Elementary School, Texarkana, AR; and Uvalde Jr. HS, Uvalde, TX. The other application for a school program was written by the Foundation for Environmental Education, representing partners in the Ohio Schools Going Solar project. The group brought PV hardware to schools and, through monitoring of output data, students increased their scientific and technological literacy which resulted in improved standardized test scores. The initiative installed 90 kW of PV in Ohio facilities. Project partners include American Electric Power, Association of Municipal Power Producers of Ohio, AstroPower, BP Solar, Foundation for Environmental Education, Integrated Solar, Ohio Air Quality Development Authority, Ohio Dept. of Development, Office of Energy Efficiency, Ohio Environmental Council, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Ohio Energy Project, U.S. Department of Energy. Block Island is a popular tourist destination, located 12 miles off Rhode Island, but was cited by the EPA under the Clean Air Act because it generated electricity solely from diesel generators. Five municipal projects were authorized, including a grid- connected PV system with battery backup, a grid-isolated solar system, a solar-assisted domestic water heating system, a seasonal solar-assisted domestic water heating system and a utility interconnected solar electric system. Sixty installations have been developed through the grant, of which 26 are solar water heating, 35 are solar electric and 8 are wind. Partners include Rhode Island State Energy Office, U.S. Department of Energy, ENTECH Engineering, and the residents of Block Island. A pilot program to prepare the market for renewable energy in 23 counties in northeast Wisconsin created the Demand Side Applications of Renewable Energy, which produced marketing services and grants for technical assistance and demonstrations. The emphasis is market transformation and a goal of saving 6.9 million kWh of electricity and 634,000 therms per year. Partners include Wisconsin Energy Division, Wisconsin Public Service and 40 contractors. The City of Portland in Oregon researched options for using renewable energy and found that fuel cells could use Anaerobic Digester Gas (ADG) instead of natural gas. The fuel cell eliminated the need to purchase an emergency backup generator, and the unit generates 1,400,000 kWh each year from waste methane. IREC also presented awards to Blanche Sheinkopf, Manager of DOE’s EnergySmart Schools Program and formerly with the Florida Solar Energy Center, for her work in bringing solar energy to schools through projects and curriculum development; to Mark Fitzgerald, executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Power, for his work on developing accreditation of training programs and the certification of renewable energy professionals; and to Larry Sherwood for his 12 years as executive director of the American Solar Energy Society. Since 1992, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council has offered a yearly competitive opportunity for state and local government agencies and schools (K-12) to receive national recognition for their efforts to promote and accelerate the adoption of renewable energy technologies. The Interstate Renewable Energy Council’s mission is to accelerate the sustainable utilization of renewable energy sources and technologies in and through state and local government and community activities. The Interstate Renewable Energy Council, a nonprofit organization, supports market-oriented services targeted at education, coordination, procurement, the adoption and implementation of uniform guidelines and standards, and consumer protection.

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