Center for Renewable Energy Advanced Technological Education
NSF ATE Award # 2000714

Fall 2020

Educators and Students Overcome Adversity in the Face of COVID-19
2020 will be recorded in history as the year of COVID-19 corona virus disruption and hardship.  Over the past several months, schools have been forced online, workplaces shuttered, and health care facilities strained.  Sadly, many in the educational community have been stricken with the illness, and tragically some are no longer with us.  We grieve for all of those who have lost a loved one. 

CREATE has heard from many of you who shared your personal experiences with us, and we applaud the efforts that all of you have made to persevere in the face of this tremendous adversity.  This year has not been easy, but we are inspired by the many stories that we have heard of teachers going the extra mile to help care for students, colleagues, friends, and family members.  Equally inspiring have been the schools that stepped up efforts to provide everything from masks and face shields, to free laptops and WiFi hotspots, to home delivered meals for hungry students.  The challenges confronted have been great, but the collective will to overcome has risen to the task.  The COVID induced distress and the ensuing response has only served to emphasize the importance of educational institutions to the fabric of our society.

It should also be noted that despite the COVID turmoil and the associated economic recession, many parts of the workforce continue to hire and are in need of well qualified employees.  The energy sector represents critical infrastructure, and the STEM professionals employed in these areas are essential workers.  Some areas such as solar and wind technicians were among the fastest growing occupations in the nation before the COVID outbreak, and are likely to be among the first to rebound back to their pre-2020 levels.  Workers that have been displaced from the retail, tourism, and hospitality industries are now seeking new careers, and some may be prospective students for energy technology educational programs.  This topic was recently explored in a CREATE webinar produced with James Auld of Next Era Energy on Covid-19 and the Energy Workforce, and was also the subject of a panel
convened in October at the National Council for Workforce Education conference on Creating Employment, a Green Economy, and Social Well Being.  

Although we do not know what the rest of this year might hold for the COVID virus, we can say with conviction that CREATE will continue our work to support the energy education community.  Funding for the CREATE center was recently extended by the National Science Foundation through 2022, and CREATE has launched several new initiatives to help instructors who are teaching online.  We are increasing our webinar programming to provide streaming content, and we have added several new energy activities and lesson plans, many of which can be delivered using distance learning.  Also included in this newsletter are announcements for some of our new virtual faculty professional development opportunities, and we will have more of these available in 2021.  If you have additional ideas for how we can support energy educators and the work that they do, please do not hesitate to contact us with your suggestions.

On behalf of the entire CREATE team, we hope that you are well, and safe, and most importantly, that you Stay Healthy.

Ken Walz
CREATE Principal Investigator
College of the Canyons
Fuel Cells Go Online
While College of the Canyons recently transitioned most of its spring courses and services to an online format, something else at the college recently went online.

On Tuesday, March 24, the college came one step closer to energy independence when its new Bloom Energy Corp. fuel cell went online for the first time.

The first phase of the college’s new fuel cell plant—which will provide the college with nearly a megawatt of power—achieved 100 percent output within 24 hours.

The second phase of the fuel cell project—which will generate more than 500,000 kilowatts of power and bring total plant production to 1.5 megawatts—will be completed in the fall.

“This is a very exciting step for the college’s sustainability efforts,” said Jim Schrage, vice president of facilities planning, operations and construction at the college. “Our new fuel cell technology system will dramatically reduce the college’s emissions, carbon footprint, and dependency on the energy grid. We want to thank Bloom Energy Corp. for helping us improve our energy efficiency.”

Located on the west side of campus, the fuel cell plant was part of an upgrade of the college’s existing fuel cell technology system, made possible thanks to a $3 million award from the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Previously, the college relied on the original Bonelli Hall central plant, the south campus plant and a third plant on the north side of campus for its heating, cooling and hot water needs.  

The system overhaul also included removing the college’s two co-generators, upgrading the existing cooling tower, and adding a new chiller to compensate for the lost production of cold water previously produced by the existing co-generator.

A central plant is a facility that houses chillers, boilers, and cooling towers that serve as a single supply source for hot water and chilled water that services multiple buildings from a central location.  

The college has made use of central plants to reduce waste and create an energy efficient campus from the very beginning.  COC installed its first central plant on the roof of what is now Bonelli Hall, but as the campus continued to grow, the need for expansion of the central plant became apparent in the early 1990s.

Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook secured funding for the South Plant, located near Mentry Hall, which was the first real central plant in the California Community College System.  

“College of the Canyons is proud to have been at the forefront of implementing new energy-efficient technology,” said College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook. “We are always looking for innovative ways to continue improving upon our sustainability efforts at both our campuses.”

COC was one of only three educational institutions to receive an incentive fund from SCAQMD in 2019 to replace older, higher-emitting appliances and equipment with zero and near-zero emission technologies.

SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major sections of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.  

Headquartered in San Jose, Bloom Energy Corp has recently shifted from manufacturing fuel cells to refurbishing ventilators to help assist hospitals during the Coronavirus epidemic.
Featured Faculty: Abe Fouhy, Clackamas Community College
Abe Fouhy got his start in renewables earlier than most. At the young age of 17, Abe made it his goal to build a car that ran only on water. Dreaming up a car that could sustain itself without gasoline put Abe on the path to pursue a career in renewable energy starting a nonprofit in the field that he would champion for 17 years, building a variety of hydrogen technologies including converting cars to run on hydrogen like you would Compressed Natural Gas.

Fouhy has been teaching in the Renewable Energy Technology program at Clackamas Community College for 10 years now, and he strives to produce skilled graduates ready to take on work in the field.  Furthermore, he wants the renewable energy program to bring different people with all kinds of backgrounds together. In other words, he wants to produce skilled graduates who can work together, even if they don’t necessarily agree with each other. 
Fouhy is also passionate about helping his students use the skills they learn for good causes. He hopes to add a new initiative called “Empowering For Good” to the curriculum, where students use their knowledge to help Habitat for Humanity build homeless shelters, conduct energy audits, and more. 
This is all in true to form for Fouhy, who says that, “the most rewarding part of the job is being able to change student lives and help make the world a better place.” 
Featured Alumni: Stephanie Pfaffle, Clackamas Community College
Baker by night, technician by day, hard work is second nature for Clackamas alumni Stephanie Pfaffle. This recent graduate worked fulltime at Portland’s infamous Voodoo Donut shop, while earning her associates degree in Renewable Energy.

Stephanie stumbled across the Renewable Energy Program when she was 21 by taking and introductory course in the subject.  Stephanie realized that she had a technical aptitude for renewable energy, and was motivated by the opportunity to make a difference in the world. “My generation has grown up being taught to help the environment; this program gave me skills to do that. The program taught me things that I could do in my career to make a difference.”

Stephanie says when she first started the program she had very set ideas about energy systems. One of the main things she learned was you need to be prepared to find real life solutions for problems.  “As a technician or as an engineer, it is tempting to address challenges with temporary band-aids and you just can’t do that”, said Stephanie.  “But it is much more rewarding to find new and innovative solutions to those problems.“ 

Today, Stephanie works on clean air equipment as a Facilities Exhaust Technician for Intel. Her education at Clackamas helped her secure her job by providing her with the foundational knowledge and technical skills that Intel was looking for.  Stephanie says the job reflects her values of helping the environment, and provides a platform to apply the education she worked so hard for.

If Stephanie could offer any advice to future renewable energy students, it would be to network, build relationships with your teachers and pursue any opportunities to work on projects and internships that are available. “I was fortunate to have an instructor, Abe Fouhy, that was very passionate about his field. He supported my ambitions, and helped me get to where I am.”
Solar Energy Jobs: A Decade of Growth
For the past decade, The Solar Foundation has published an annual National Solar Jobs Census, charting the dramatic growth in solar jobs nationwide and state by state. The 10th annual Census report, published in February, found there are a quarter million solar workers in the United States as of 2019. Following two years of jobs losses, the industry added about 5,600 jobs that year for a total of 249,983 workers. Overall, the total number of jobs has more than doubled in the last decade. Since 2014, solar jobs increased five times faster than the overall economy.

Ten years of data from the Solar Jobs Census makes a powerful case that solar energy is a job creator. Jobs in solar are available to all education and experience levels (most do not require a bachelor’s degree), and these jobs are located across the country. The state with the largest number of jobs added last year was Florida, followed by Georgia, Utah, New York, Texas, and Illinois.

The Solar Jobs Census report provides in-depth data on the solar workforce and the current state of the industry, with the goal to expand solar energy and job growth even more in the new decade. The report can be viewed at
Madison College receives EPA’s Green Power Leadership Award
Madison College has received a 2020 Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  For 20 years, EPA’s annual Green Power Leadership Awards have recognized America’s leading green power users for their commitment and contribution to helping advance the development of the nation’s voluntary green power market. EPA presented the Madison College Truax Campus Solar Photovoltaic System with an award for Direct Project Engagement at the virtual 2020 Renewable Energy Markets Conference on September 22, 2020.
Madison College was one of only six organizations nationwide to receive a Leadership Award for direct project engagement. The program recognizes EPA Green Power Partners that distinguish themselves through on- and off-site projects using a variety of financing structures to access renewable energy based green power. Madison College is currently generating nearly 2.4 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually from an on-site solar energy system at its Truax Campus, which supplies 23 percent of the building’s annual electricity use.
"Madison College is pleased to receive this award from EPA recognizing our production of green electricity", said Ken Walz, Science and Engineering Instructor and Renewable Energy Program Director.  "By constructing solar installations on our campus facilities, the college is improving our environmental footprint, while also preparing students for careers in the fast-growing field of renewable energy technology.  We are committed to generate even more green power in the years ahead, and we are eager to expand on our work with the renewable energy industry."
Green power is electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass, and low-impact hydro. Using green power helps accelerate the development of those sources in the United States and advance the American green power market.
According to the EPA, the Madison College Truax Building’s green power production of nearly 2.4 million kWh is equivalent to the annual electricity use of more than 200 average American homes.

Madison College PV system featured as part of the National Solar Tour
The Madison College Truax Campus PV system was also featured in a virtual field trip that was part of the 25th annual National Solar Tour.  The field trip provides an up close examination of the system with footage shot from the top the three story campus building.  The presentation includes an exploration of many engineering design considerations that were made to improve the functionality of the system for teaching students.  The system includes a ten kiloWatt subarray that is specifically designed as an instructional laboratory, where students can de-energize the system and learn procedures for solar electrical work.  The field trip is one of several resources that are included as part of the new CREATE Solar on Schools Toolkit.  The Madison College field trip is one of many in this year's Solar Tour that featured photovoltaic installations on schools.  If you wish to view additional virtual field trips, or would like to participate in next years tour, be sure to visit the National Solar Tour website
CREATE Partner Receives HI-TEC 2020 Industry Recognition Award
This award represents HI-TEC's commitment to recognize industry colleagues who make significant contributions to the education and training of today's technology workforce. Nominees for the award must have had a demonstrated broader impact on technology education on both a local and national level. The Industry Recognition Award recognizes key industry personnel for outstanding contributions to promote advanced technological education.

Cal Couillard, a self-described “crazy inventor guy,” is currently leading his fifth business, Speed Solar Inc., a Midwest distributor of solar photovoltaic panels and hardware. In Cal’s words, he has “invented his way through multiple businesses to reach his true passion—designing solar solutions to address global warming and climate change.” He hopes to transform the energy marketplace by promoting wide-scale adoption of solar photovoltaics and electric vehicles.

Cal and his company have worked with Madison College and others to conduct field trials of bifacial solar panels. Speed Solar donated, and Cal personally delivered, nearly 20 kW of solar panels to Madison College. The trials have provided a fantastic learning experience for students and provided data that has been shared with Sandia and the National Renewable Energy Laboratories to help advance research on solar performance in snowy climates.

Cal and his wife, Laurie, are passionate about reversing the negative impacts of greenhouse gases. They have made it their mission to invest in the Couillard Solar Foundation to foster the growth of the solar market and to promote solar education. The Couillard Solar Foundation has provided funding for the Solar on Schools grant program, which provides free solar panels and technical advice to public schools seeking to install solar photovoltaic systems.

We are fortunate to have Cal as a CREATE Industry partner. Congratulations Cal on a well deserved honor!
CREATE releases new Solar ToolKit
Schools across the country are considering solar photovoltaic installations on campus to provide energy for their facilities and to provide an educational resource for students.  The purpose of the CREATE Solar Toolkit is to flatten the learning curve for those seeking to install solar at their own institution.  The Toolkit provides a collection of resources to optimize the design of a solar system for educational use, and expedite the solar construction process. Items include a ten step guide to creating a solar roadmap, a template request for solar development proposals, design considerations for school facilities, and many other resources to help schools plan and execute solar construction projects.  The ToolKit can be found at
Clackamas Community College Renewable Energy Profile Now Available at
The CREATE Program Profiles highlight exemplary renewable energy courses and programs offered by community colleges across the U.S.  Last Year, CREATE focused on schools and faculty teaching Solar Photovoltaics and Energy Efficiency courses.  This semester we have profiled the Renewable Energy program and faculty at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, Oregon.

The Program Profile incorporates a rich digest of statistics and information, including program details, example syllabi, photos of instructional facilities, plus an interview with the lead faculty member and an honorable alumnus. Excerpts from the most recent renewable energy profile are included in this newsletter featuring the faculty and alumni interviews. 

To view the CREATE Program Profiles please visit the CREATE website at We welcome feedback and recommendations on additional programs or courses that you would like to see featured. Please email Gabrielle Temple at:
10th Annual Coachella Valley KidWind Regional Event Goes Virtual
The Coachella Valley KidWind Student Challenge events were first held in 2010 through OneFuture Coachella Valley’s  Advanced Technology Industry Council with support from the California Regional Consortium for Engineering Advances in Technical Education (CREATE) office at College of the Canyons with funding by the National Science Foundation. The founding team of partners continues to support the event, including OneFuture Coachella Valley, College of the Desert, SM@RT Education, Palm Springs Unified School District, Coachella Valley Unified School District and the KidWind national team. 
Since 2010, more than 800 Coachella Valley K-12 students have learned the science of wind power and the concepts of Renewable Energy through this innovative, hands-on learning and competition event.
Our team is excited to announce that our 10th annual event, the 2021 Coachella Valley KidWind Regional Competition, will be held as a virtual competition in spring 2021.
To support the transition to a virtual competition, participating teachers are invited to a training workshop in fall 2020 facilitated by our local event planning team. The training includes an overview of the WhiteBox KidWind 2.0 platform, and a Makers Workshop where teachers will create their own turbines using parts supplied by College of the Desert (COD) as part of their Makers Space initiative. This affords teachers a chance to experience building a turbine and augmenting the virtual WhiteBox experience.  The hands-on makers workshop will connect teachers to the new Makers Space programs that will be launching through COD in Fall 2021 at their Palm Springs, Palm Desert and Indio campuses. Our goal is that teachers will introduce their students to the degree and certificate programs available through COD’s Pathway to Building Energy Systems. Specific outreach to teachers in the Blythe area will be done, encouragi
ng them to join the 2021 Coachella Valley program.  
For additional information on the Coachella Valley KidWind event please contact Kim McNulty at 
Madison College joins the American Made Solar Prize Network
The American-Made Solar Prize is a competition from the U.S. Department of Energy that is designed to energize U.S. solar manufacturing. As an American-Made Network Silver Connector, Madison College is working with Solar Prize competitors, offering resources and support at every stage of the competition.
The competition aims to support the growth of U.S. solar manufacturing and reenergize American energy innovation by tapping into American’s competitive spirit and the nation's unparalleled innovation ecosystem.  Through a series of three contests, innovators from across the country work to transform big ideas into concepts and then prototypes ready for industry testing on a condensed timeline.
The Solar Prize offers competitors $3 million in cash prizes and support from the American-Made Network, helping connect entrepreneurs to national labs, industry experts, facilities, and other resources they need to succeed. The Network helps competitors solve pressing technology challenges, forge connections, and advance potentially game-changing ideas and innovations. It also leverages highly specialized skills, tools, and expertise to strengthen and scale critical connections to support the progress and success of competitors.
Through the American-Made Network, the world's best-in-class national laboratory research base is combined with an unparalleled entrepreneurial support system consisting of pioneering fabrication facilities, energy incubators, and other valuable resources. Together, the network supports competitors in the Solar Prize to create a sweeping portfolio of innovations primed for private investment and commercial scale up.

The CREATE Update

Calendar Events

Call for Innovative Ideas in Teaching Practices Fall 2020

We realize these last few months have been some of the most difficult times for you in the classroom, but through it all, you have persevered and adapted to maintain quality instruction for your students. Many of you have pioneered unique pedagogical approaches resulting in new ways to teach your curriculum that challenged your students to rise to the occasion and overcome barriers to achieve their educational goals. 

The CREATE Team has developed a Call for Innovative Ideas to recognize the most original practices implemented in your classroom and provide a venue for those selected to share their ideas with the larger renewable energy educational community. If you are interested in being considered for recognition, please submit a one-page synopsis of your innovative idea and the impact it had on your students by Friday, November 6, 2020 to the CREATE Project Manager, Gabrielle Temple at Please include the name of the course with your submission.

A panel of your peers will review the submissions and six faculty will be selected to present 15-minute webinars in January 2021 to showcase their ideas. The presentations will be highlighted on the CREATE website and available for download by other faculty. The selected faculty members will also receive a $300 stipend for presenting their idea during the webinar.

We look forward to your submissions and the opportunity to work with you to share your innovative ideas and recognize your creative efforts. 

KidWind Virtual Workshop Series

KidWind is proud to partner with the CREATE Center to bring a series of renewable energy educator workshops to educators across the US.  These 6-hour fully virtual workshops will explore energy basics, the power grid, and wind and solar technologies. These are hands-on workshops focus on delivering just enough content knowledge to get going, as well as a wide variety of practical activities for your classroom.  No prior knowledge is needed to attend these workshops. 
All participants receive a box of materials ($80 value) before each workshop they attend. 
Registration Details
Please check out the KidWind website to see the courses, agendas and to register.
If you are a 6-12th grade science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) teacher use the coupon code, CREATEWKS2020, and it will reduce your registration fee to ONLY $10!
If you manage to take attend and complete all of the workshops - Energy & The Power Grid, Wind Energy Fundamentals and Solar Energy Fundamentals and attend an educators webinar on successful implementation you will receive $200 in bonus gear! 
Contact for more information.

U.S. Department of Energy Geothermal Design Challenge 
The U.S. Department of Energy Geothermal Design Challenge is recruiting students enrolled at U.S. collegiate institutions to design a compelling infographic and outreach strategy to increase awareness of geothermal as a valuable clean energy resource. The student competition welcomes a broad spectrum of disciplines to focus on infographic development and data visualization to foster understanding of geothermal, communicate the benefits of geothermal energy technologies more broadly, and ultimately to overcome key nontechnical barriers to geothermal development.

Monday, November 2, 3:30 P.M. ET – Informational Webinar
Join the NREL competition team for an overview of the Geothermal Design Challenge, tips and tricks for submitting, and upcoming deadlines. We encourage any faculty supporting student teams and students who are interested in competing in the challenge to attend. Register for the webinar.
Thursday, November 5, 5:00 P.M. ET – Registration Deadline
Ready to dig in, drill down, and compete in the Geothermal Design Challenge? Register your team for the Geothermal Design Challenge by November 5, 5:00 P.M. ET to compete.

For questions or additional information email:
NSF ATE Summer Grant Writing Workshop
Workshop Focus: Participants in this workshop will learn about the NSF Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program and how to most effectively apply for grant funding. Faculty must propose a specific project to improve an ATE-eligible technical program in a one page proposal. One page proposals will be reviewed from October to February 1st when the first acceptances will be sent. Proposals will be either accepted or sent back for corrections and the website will remain open until the workshop and a waiting list are full. Workshop activities will include presentations; planning and writing sessions with mentors who have had extensive experience with ATE and NSF; and networking with colleagues from similar institutions around the country. Two faculty from each college will receive stipend support.
When: June 2021

Location: TBD, virtual or in person in CT, depending on pandemic situation.

Eligibility:  Full-time STEM discipline faculty involved in technician education programs from two-year colleges. Two faculty per college are eligible and colleges may also send a grant writer as a third team member at their own expense. Teams of two or three are strongly encouraged.

Costs: Travel stipend provided if in person.

Stipends and Support: Each participant will be eligible for a $250 stipend (in addition to travel stipend) if in person or a $500 stipend if virtual upon the completion of the workshop. An additional stipend of $250  to each of two faculty will be available upon submission of an ATE proposal in the October 2021 competition.

Ongoing Support: The mentor assigned to each college team will continue throughout the year to support each college’s efforts to write a complete proposal. This will include creating pre- and post-workshop milestones, webinars, suggesting resources, and providing feedback both for proposal writing and in the award process.
To register for the workshop, visit the website at National Science Foundation (NSF) Sponsored Grant Writing Workshop at
or if you have any questions about activities or arrangements, please contact Dr. Kathleen Alfano at PI for Mentor Up and co-PI for CREATE.
CREATE Energy Webinars 
CREATE will be continuing our webinar series in 2020/21. Planned topics include Solar Photovoltaics, Wind Energy, Energy Storage, SCADA, Renewable Energy Employment, and the German Energy Transition.

Upcoming Webinars:
Friday, November 13th, 9AM PST/11AM CST/12PM ESTSolar Road Maps: Strategic Planning for School Facilities - Schools across the country are considering solar photovoltaic installations on campus to produce energy for their facilities and to provide an educational resource for students.  A solar roadmap can help your institution to create a strategic plan to prioritize solar development on campus. To register for the webinar email Gabrielle Temple at 

Past CREATE webinars from the Environmental Defense Fund, and Meister Consultants Group on the report Now Hiring:  The Growth of America's Clean Energy and Sustainability Jobs, the Solar Foundation on Solar Hiring Insights, the North American Board of Certified Energy practitioners on Solar Industry Credentials, the CREATE Team on The German Energy Transition, Solar PV Battery Storage and Charge Control, and Renewable Energy During COVID 19, Dr. Mark Hanson on The Inevitable Solar Schools, Dr. Gregory Nemet, on How Solar Became Cheap, Joseph Sarrubi on Career Mapping, and the Center for Innovation and Visualization at Purdue, on Troubleshooting and Safety Simulator for Wind Turbine Education are available for download at:        

Please visit the CREATE website to view recordings of past webinar events, and sign up for our email list to get updates as future speakers and dates are announced.     
Contact us at:
 Kenneth A. Walz, Ph.D.
 CREATE Principal Investigator
 Madison Area Technical College
 1701 Wright Street
 Madison, WI  53704-2599
 Office: (608) 246-6521

Gabrielle Temple
CREATE Project Manager
College of the Canyons
26455 Rockwell Canyon Road
Santa Clarita, CA 91355
(661) 362-3024

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 2000714. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect those of the National Science Foundation.
Copyright © 2020 College of the Canyons, All rights reserved.

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