Solar Panels Work Even Harder

Published on November 19, 2008

LANHAM, MD— November 19, 2008— Electrical contractors of the Electrical Alliance recently installed solar panels at the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee’s (JATC) facility in Lanham, MD. The panels are pulling double duty, serving as a power source for the building and a training device for electricians.

The JATC oversees training for all of the electricians of the Electrical Alliance, a cooperative effort between the electrical contractors of National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the skilled electricians of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 26 (IBEW).

“Each year, about 100 apprentices graduate from our program with the latest knowledge in electrical construction,” says JATC director, David McCord. “The solar panels are another way we are providing the most current information in a hands-on environment.”

The JATC’s alternative energy class is offered to 4th and 5th year apprentices as well as experienced electricians who haven’t had training in this technology and covers wind generation, hydrogen generation and bio fuels in addition to solar photovoltaics.

“It’s critical that the whole industry is up to speed on alternative energy,” says Andrew Porter, executive director of Washington, DC Chapter of NECA. “We’re offering green building training in a variety of ways so that our skilled journeyman electricians can stay ahead of the curve.”

Electricians from The Electric Shop, installed ten 180-watt panels which are linked directly to the building and adjust to follow the sun all day. The power generated from the panels is used immediately. The panels have already produced 1043 kWh of power, saving over 1,775 pounds of carbon dioxide.

Green energy sources won’t stop at solar panels. The JATC is continuing to learn how they can utilize other alternative energy sources.

“The JATC is investigating the possibility of installing Power Factor Correction capacitors on the buildings electrical service,” says Ralph Neidert, assistant director of the JATC. “This would offer stability to the transmission network, substantially lowering our electrical bill and allow us to offer training to members and contractors about this portion of the market.”

The JATC plans on continuing its efforts by placing solar panels at future training facilities around the Washington, DC region.