Project Bright Conducts Third Session in Solar Training

By Wesley Yiin, PC '16

Project Bright held the third session of its solar training program on Wednesday, March 27, 2013. The focus of this workshop was on calculating solar potential, giving students enrolled in the program to use the knowledge that they gained in past sessions for practical purposes.

Project Bright, created by Madeline Yozwiak TD ’14, who also serves as the club’s president and leads most of the training sessions, is an undergraduate organization dedicated to increasing the presence of solar on campus. The month-long training program, which is in its second year of existence, was developed by the club’s Education team, whose goal is to promote the spread of knowledge about solar energy throughout the university.

Each of the program’s four hour-long sessions, which included this week’s workshop, had different topics for students of different backgrounds and interests. For instance, the first session (“Solar 101”) presented an overview of solar, while the second (“Solar 202,” with recently named Gates Scholar Rachel Kurchin, PC ’13, as a “guest presenter”) focused more on hard science and technology. The latter two workshops focus more on practical applications and the economic and social ramifications of solar technology. The final session will take place on this Wednesday, April 3rd, in LC 211 and will teach participants how to calculate system costs. Anyone may attend.

“Last year, we hired an instructor, but we decided to develop our own program this year to better meet the needs of college students,” commented Madeline on the ideas behind this year’s training. “We tried to focus on practical questions and skills that participants could use. How many panels could fit on a roof?  How big is a megawatt?  What is the payback period of a solar installation?”

The program began with approximately seventy registrants. Registered students were not required to attend all sessions, but they were encouraged to go to any that interested them. One student, Joshua El-Bey, BF ’16, spoke positively about the program. “It gave me a more concrete feel of how the technology works, the state of the market, and what that means for possibly installing solar panels here at Yale.”

To supplement the four sessions, the Education team plans to bring in three distinguished speakers, including Bryan Garcia (April 4), President and CEO of the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority; Bob Freling (April 11), Executive Director of the Solar Electric Light Fund; and Paul Lyons (April 20), CEO and founder of Zapotec Energy. The first and last speakers will be giving lectures open to all who are interested, while Mr. Freling will be giving a more intimate and informal Master’s Tea at Saybrook College in addition to a lecture.

Other than Education, Project Bright has two other initiatives: Research and Installations, with the latter group working on building a system for Kline Geology Lab.