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Electrical and power/energy students building wind turbine at Preston High

By THERESA MARTHEY

The Preston County News and Journal

KINGWOOD, W.Va. — Preston High School Career and Technology Education’s electrical and power/energy course participants are building a wind turbine and solar panels on the school property.

The turbine as well as four solar panels were purchased through grant funding.

Preston High School electrical students dig a trench for conduit as they work with the power and energy course students to erect a wind turbine and solar panels at the school.
(Preston News and Journal photo by Theresa Marthey)

Supervising teacher Jason Curry said the turbine will take about four-to-five weeks to arrive, and, in the meantime, the students are completing the preparation work.

The wind turbine will be approximately 25 feet tall, and the pole will be hinged so it can be taken offline and easily maintained. Each solar panel measures approximately 2 feet by 4 feet.

The project is located on the side of the CTE building near the JROTC training course, but will not interfere with training once installed.

“My senior class began researching this project last year, and we decided on this location for a couple reasons,” Curry said. “One is we wanted visitors to be able to see it, and it is visible here.

“The other reason is it is windy here and we get a lot of sun in this location during the day,” Curry said. “This hill is perfect.”

Curry also said the students discovered during their research the need to have both wind and solar panel together.

“On sunny days, it may not be windy, and on windy days, it isn’t generally cloudy,” Curry said.

Curry said the project is also introducing the students to alternative energy, something they need to think about as it becomes more popular.

The students began digging trenches for the conduit Monday, and will continue to do as much as they can until the turbine arrives.

“We will be pouring concrete for the pad so all that has to be done is the turbine to be put up when it arrives,” Curry said. “In addition, they will be setting the inverter and batteries inside the wall to convert the energy to alternating current.”

Curry said they will be powering a light for a nearby parking lot at night, and will also be looking for something to power inside through the day.

Rodger Marshall, who was helping with the project, said the project should pay for itself in three years.

“The turbine is rated at 1,500 watts, and with the solar, we are looking at a total of 3,000 watts of power,” Marshall said. “We are hoping we will be able to power more, but we don’t know what else we would like to power at this time.”

Curry also said they would like to add additional wind turbines and solar panels over time.

“If we can light these parking lots with energy we can produce, it would probably deter vandalism,” Curry said.

Another project the electrical class is working on is adding power to the new high tunnel near the Buckwheat Express bus garage.

Staff Writer Theresa Marthey can be reached at (304) 276-1127 or by email at [email protected].

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