Norwich Solar Engages Students Participating in The Governor’s Institute of Vermont’s Engineering Program on Local Energy Systems
Published June 29, 2021 in Vermont Biz
They’ve got the power – literally! Norwich Solar Engineer Nathan Billings and Chief Technology Officer & Co-founder Troy McBride had the pleasure of speaking with local high school students participating in The Governor’s Institutes of Vermont Engineering Program last week, one of eight programs GIV is presenting this summer in topics from Arts to Mathematics to Entrepreneurship. While participation was virtual this year, Norwich hopes to be present in person for future sessions.
Michael Cross, Institute Director and Assistant Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Norwich University, and his team’s vision for this summer’s session focused on local energy systems. Students broadened their ways of thinking with design challenges and gained exposure to multiple engineering fields and career pathways. Billings and McBride shared their roles in building local renewable energy within various fields including entrepreneurship and engineering.
Billings stated, “As a coach and teacher I love providing insight and guidance for students, especially those seeking extra knowledge and advice from mentors and industry professionals. GIV is a great example of motivated students seeking this knowledge. In our talk about the solar industry in Vermont and a day in the life of a design engineer, the students were engaged and answered questions about sizing PV arrays, and meeting customer demands.”
Both Norwich Solar team members presented on the development of local solar here in Vermont. Billings brought them through the basic design steps, including; site evaluation, customer considerations and design challenges, design goals and code compliance. All key factors when developing a new project. Then students reviewed an actual project located in Hartford, Vermont and witnessed the construction phases, followed by post construction evaluations and engineering analysis.
Norwich Solar understands that hands-on experiences such as The Governor’s Institutes of Vermont and occupational presentations such as ours, are the types of learning opportunities that inspire young Vermont students, and really help provide insight for their future careers. Students that participate in GIV come from “all walks of life, from the economically disadvantaged and rurally isolated to those who have many advantages but whose needs are underserved by their schools,” states GIV. Interested high school students can learn more about these affordable, inspirational programs at giv.org. We are very proud to be a participant in such a meaningful stepping stone for those striving to have a fulfilling career and hope that this aids in the retention of our state’s young professionals.
At Norwich Solar we strive to amplify the local impact of our work by prioritizing the hiring of local employees, subcontractors, and suppliers in every aspect of our business. Both of our presenters grew up in Vermont and returned here to develop their careers.
In conclusion, Billings added, “I am deeply passionate for the preservation of nature, and find great satisfaction in addressing our energy demand through renewables. It has become more important than ever to adapt to the environmental challenges that the fossil fuel industry has created. The chance to inspire the next generation to join in that industry helps further my drive to teach students the importance of engineering, and particularly renewable energy!”