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Solar Energy Certificate for Engineering Technology Students

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Engineering Technology Potpourri

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Jesus A. Gonzalez-Rodriguez University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

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Dr. Jesus Gonzalez is currently a lecturer in the Department of Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. He holds a PhD from The University of Sheffield in United Kingdom in Materials Science and Engineering. During the PhD, he received the Foster Research Prize given to the best PhD thesis related to glass technology. His research interest is in the mechanical properties of glass at room and high temperature.
Dr. Gonzalez has also a broad experience in the glass industry, specifically in fabrication of automotive safety glass. He worked for Vitro Glass Company for more than 19 years where he held different positions such as Process Engineer, Materials Planning and Logistics Manager, Production Superintendent, Manufacturing Engineer and Glass Technologist. During his time in the company, he co-authored two patents related to glass fabrication and glass coatings processing.
Dr. Gonzalez is a Six-Sigma Black Belt and has participated in numerous process improvement projects. He has been trained as well in the Methodology of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ) that he applied to solve complex problems. In the manufacturing operations field, he is certified in Production and Inventory Management by APICS, which is the professional association for supply chain management.
He is a member of the Society of Glass Technology, based in Sheffield England. He is also affiliated to the alumni society of Armourers & Brasiers' Company, London UK, which is a society that promotes the study of Materials Science.

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Immanuel Edinbarough P.E. University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

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Immanuel A. Edinbarough received his B.Sc. (Applied Sciences) degree from PSG College of Technology, University of Madras, India, his B.E.. (M.E.) degree from the Institution of Engineers, India, M.E. (Production Engineering) degree from PSG College of Technology, Bharathiar University, India, and his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Bharathiar University, India. He is currently a professor and director of engineering technology at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). Prior to joining the UTB (A legacy university) faculty he was a visiting professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology and an associate professor of production engineering at the PSG College of Technology, Bharathiar University, India, where he served as the director of the Computer Vision Laboratory and National Cadet Corps – Engineering Division Director. With over 33 years of teaching and research experience in manufacturing/mechanical engineering and engineering technology, he currently teaches in the areas of CAD/CAM/CIM, robotics and automation, product and process design, materials and manufacturing processes, machine design, renewable energy and micro-manufacturing. His current research interests include robotics, CIM, sustainable manufacturing, micro machining and engineering and technology education. He has published several papers in these areas in various national and international conferences and journals. He has worked in heavy and light manufacturing industries, manufacturing pumps, motors, and CNC machine tools in the areas of system design, production planning, and control and manufacturing. Edinbarough also served in paramilitary forces and in the Air Force. He is a Life Member of the ISTE, a senior life member of the IE (India), a member of ASEE and SME, and a licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.) in the state of Texas.

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Solar Energy is the fastest-growing energy resource in the United States and the world. This industry just hit an important milestone in 2019 of completing two million solar systems installations in the country and is expected to duplicate this quantity by 2023.

Organizations and home and business owners in our South Texas region are starting to recognize the benefits of this type of renewable energy. And with the drop in the cost of the components and installation of the solar system, the future for this industry seems promising.

Our Program of Engineering Technology, which is part of the College of Engineering and Computer Science of the University of XXXX, is committed to providing our students with the set of skills that make them successful in their careers, but overall, professionals that can contribute to the sustainable development of our region.

In this paper, the authors present the scheme for a new certificate in Solar Energy Systems as a part of the Engineering Technology curriculum. This proposal is supported by our departmental Vision of giving the students a robust technical knowledge through industry certificates along with the degree courses, so they can be industry-ready and able to deliver results as soon as they join the workforce, or as entrepreneurs. The backbone of this proposal lays not only in our existing courses in renewable energies and specifically solar energy systems, but also in the expertise of our faculty, and the relationship of the department with the local industry in this field.

The solar systems installations by themselves, are endeavors that require an understanding of different fields, such a mechanical, electrical, power electronics, photovoltaics, and management. An important characteristic of the proposed certificate is the holistic approach in which we will be preparing the students not only with the technical skills and the specifics of this technology, but also with all the processes associated with this industry; such as local and federal regulations, codes, grants and tax incentives, and the requirements to connect to the grid of the utility companies.

This project represents an important effort within our department, and we believe it has an important content of innovation in engineering education that we would like to share with the ASEE community.

Gonzalez-Rodriguez, J. A., & Edinbarough, I. (2021, July), Solar Energy Certificate for Engineering Technology Students Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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