SOLAR ENERGY TRAINING PROGRAM FOR ARIZONA EXTENSION EDUCATORS
Our goal for Year One of this project was to conduct one face-to-face professional development workshop for Cooperative Extension educators in southern Arizona. We conducted two day-long workshops in 2015. The first workshop was in June and was conducted at the University of Arizona (UA) Campus Agricultural Center (CAC). Ten extension educators registered for the workshop in Tucson. Eight individuals representing extension centers from Cochise and Pima Counties attended the workshop. All workshop participants viewed a powerpoint presentation covering a summary of energy demand & source in Arizona, electricity basics, types of solar PV systems, solar PV system components, and safe use of digital multimeters to take power measurements. Hands-on activities included working with solar PV modules to create series circuits and parallel circuits. After reading and interpreting backsheets on PV modules, participants assembled sample PV-direct water pumping systems using 20-watt PV modules, 12 volt DC water bilge pumps, and PVC pipe fountains. A solar irradience meter was used to measure sunlight intensity. Digital clamp on AC/DC meters were used to measure system voltage, current, and to compute power output. Adjusting the tilt and orientation of the PV module and the effect on pump performance was demonstrated. Finally, all participants engaged in compiling components and assembling a demonstration solar PV system to take back to their county centers to use in conducting solar PV outreach activities. Onsite workshop evaluations were completed. Pre and post workshop surveys were administred electronically to participants.
A second summer workshop was conducted in Maricopa County at the Maricopa Agriculture Center in August. The workshop was attended by six particpants, representing three separate county centers, and one Federal Recognized Tribal Extension Program (FRTEP) center. Based on feed back from the first workshop, edits and changes were made to the power point presentation. Once again, participants were engaged in hands-on activities related to asembling and testing solar PV demonstration systems. Participants assembled components for demonstration water pumping systems they would be taking back to their county centers. This included using industry-quality tools to build solar PV cables with connectors, make attachments to 20-watt solar modules, and measure and cut PVC components for solar fountains. Included in the demonstration systems were AC/DC clamp-on digitital multimeters, a thumbdrive loaded with solar PV curriculum and related articles, and a copy of Teaching Solar text books.
1. Acquiring materials to create multiple solar PV water pumping demonstration systems using five gallon buckets and 20 watt solar PV modules for hands-training.
2. Acquire materials for distribution of solar PV water pumping demonstration systems (20 watt solr PV module, PV cables, 12 volt DC pump, bucket, PV pipe & fittings, angel finder, and Craftsman AC/DC Clamp on Digital Multimeter) to workshop attendees – minimum of one per each county center represented.
3. Acquire materials for fabrication and assembly of solar PV powered livestock watering demonstration system. Two systems are under assembly and will be distributed to county centers in 2016.
4. Collecting survey data from participants attending the two 2015 professional development workshops.
Prepared and presented a poster describing our project to North American Colleges & Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Research Conference in Athens, Georgia in June 2015, and the Western Region American Association of Agricultural Education (WRAAE) Research Conference in Corvallis, Oregon in September.
Through the work of this project, we have conducted related solar PV energy education workshops for renewable energy educators at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa (July, 2015), and for Arizona Agriculture Teachers Association (AATA) members during the AATA Fall Conference in Tucson, Arizona (August, 2015).
In September, we secured additional funding from a University of Arizona WEES Workshop Grant ($3,005.00) to secure components for teaching solar PV batttery-based demonstration systems for inclusion into our 2016 professional development workshops. Materials and tools will include solar batteries, solar charge controllers, additional solar PV modules, and Fluke-brand clampon AC-DC multimeters.
In early October, a poster presentation was made to the First International Conference on Solar Energy Solutions for Electricity and Water Supply in Rural Areas, hosted by the Research Institute for Sustainable Environments (RISE), of the American University of Cairo (AUC) in Cairo, Egypt. The presentation highlighted our educatonal outreach activities presented to students, teachers, and Cooperative Extension audiences, the training methods, traning sources, and funding sources.
In late October, a poster presentation was made to the National Agricultural Mechanics Professional Development Committee (NAMPDC) Blue-Ribbon Research Conference. The poster focus was a description of the benefits and challenges of integrating solar PV energy into the agricultural education curriculum. The poster presentation was awarded the Outstanding Innovative Poster Award.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
A total of 11 portable solar-powered water pumping demonstration systems were assembled and distributed to extension educators in Cochise County, Pima County, Pinal County, Maricopa County, Yavapai County, and the Federally Recognized Tribal Extension Program (FRTEP) office on the San Carlos Apache Reservation (Gila County).
Additional solar PV energy systems related workshops (not funded by this grant, but influenced by the publicity from this project) conducted by the PI resulted in the assembly and distribution of 40 additional solar-powered water pumping demonstration (five-gallon bucket) systems at two separate workshops.
We have made modifications to our larger solar-powered water pumping demosntration system. Travel, setup and operation of the system required repairs and modifications be made to the submersible pumping system to keep it operating effectively. These modifications will be made to the larger systems we assemble, demonstrate, and leave with county centers in 2016.
Workshops have been scheduled for Yavapai County, and Apache County for 2016. Our goal is to schedule workshops for Yuma County, Graham County, Coconino County, and Pinal County in 2016. A request for a workshop focusing on larger solar pumping systems was made by workshop participants in 2015. We will attempt to conduct a workshop if we are able to acquire the necessary tools and materials.
- Presentation by Workshop Participant (August 2015)
- Workshop Evaluation Form
- Sample Workshop Flier
- PD Workshop Agenda from August 2015
- Summation of Workshop Evaluation Feedback
Associate Extension Agent
San Carlos Apache Reservation
PO Box 850
Sn Carlos, AZ 85550
Office Phone: 9284752350