Applying Academics to Real-World Uses of Renewable Energy (with a First Responder Focus)

Illinois issued a $900,000 grant to Southern Illinois University (SIU) with an idea to bring hands-on learning of a solar+storage solution while delivering support for first responders at the same time.

 

Key Takeaways:

  • SIU will launch a small-scale solar-plus-storage hybrid power system which will be leveraged as a hands-on teaching lab
  • This will give undergraduates opportunities to enhance their final year capstone projects
  • Added societal benefit: the system will also power a first responder communication system able to work off-grid during emergencies

 

Path to 100% Perspective:

Given that solar+storage (“hybrid”) systems are being built more frequently, a need for a hands-on university lab becomes more critical in preparing future energy generation professionals.  Pairing such an academic lab with a useful community benefit – such as giving first-responders the ability to power communications off-grid in an emergency – is an ingenious way to truly leverage hybrid benefits while working towards a path to 100% renewables.  The program, being piloted by Southern Illinois University, not only provides a real-life hybrid system that students can earn credit managing. Also, the power generated may be used off-grid in the event of an emergency situation to power communications for local police, fire, and EMS in the area.  Learn more from what we’re reading on the Energy News Network entitled “State grant to fund solar-plus-storage pilot at Southern Illinois University.”