The Lenawee Intermediate School District completed installation of a 3.7 SKYSTREAM Wind Generator and 12 panel photovoltaic solar collector this week. The wind generator stands 33 feet in height. It has 3 wind blades that are 6 feet long each that make up the 12’ rotor. This particular unit is designed for residential scale use. The unit requires a minimum of 8 mph wind speed to begin producing electricity. The photovoltaic solar collector is also residential in scale. The system is designed to automatically follow the sun for maximum efficiency but can also be locked in a single position.
Both the wind and solar systems are being tied directly to the LISD TECH Center’s main electrical panel and will offset in a small way the amount of electricity needed from the public utility. These two systems are primarily going to be used for education purposes.
Upon completion and via the web, students and the public will be able to access and see output data from these systems as well as current weather data such as wind speeds and temperature. More specifically students will be able to manipulate the alternative energy systems to determine how it affects the overall efficiency and effectiveness throughout the year.
Factors such as temperature, wind speed, and cloud cover will be assessed. The resources will be a valuable part of the Careers in Electrical Engineering program, however LISD TECH Center programs such as Computerized Accounting, Residential Construction, Agri-Science, Computer Information Services, and Marketing Education will also have project based learning experiences with the addition of the two educational resources.
Through the public bidding process, this project was awarded to Tri-Master Electric Co. of Fenton, Michigan. Over the past two years, LISD staff/instructors and local business partners were involved in the planning and design. Because of the web connectivity needed for student and public access, this project was a little more complex in design. Permits from both state and local regulatory agencies were obtained for this project. Hard Rock Concrete Co. of Adrian and Dailey Engineering of Onsted were local companies involved. All contractors on the project were Michigan based.
A dual system (including solar panels and a wind generator) like this would typically cost about $25,000 dollars installed and energy savings over a 5 to 10 year would pay for the units, however, the LISD system cost more because of its educational use design…significantly more infrastructure and technology was required.