Clackamas Community College Program Profile

Program Name: Renewable Energy Technology

Information Updated August 2020

Clackamus Faculty Interview

Lead Faculty

Abe Fouhy is the lead faculty for the Renewable Energy Technology Program at Clackamas Community College

Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, Oregon

Program Data

Date Program Started

2009

Geographic Area of Students

Oregon & Washington

# of Students in Program

30, ranges between 30-60

# of Faculty Members Teaching Energy

1 Full-Time Renewable Energy

1 Full-Time Electronics

2 Part-Time Electronics

4 Part-Time Electricity, Motors, & Automation

Demographics

Gender: Male 89%, Female 11%

Ethnicity: Caucasian 94.4%, African American 0.6%, Hispanic 3%, Other 2%

Veterans: 11%

Program Overview

Delivery Mode(s)

100% online to 100% face-to-face and anywhere between. Labs are done one Saturday per month for remote students or via YouTube for students who have applicable work experience to prove their skill proficiency.

Course Names

# of Credits

Degrees / Diplomas / Certificates Offered

Certificate: Renewable Energy Systems Technology Certificate – 9 months
AAS: Renewable Energy Systems Technology Degree – 21 months

Questions & Answers

Last year we built a new Industrial Technology Center building, which has 8000 ft. of space for internal labs, 5 classroom spaces, 1 computer lab and a 11,200 ft. outdoor renewable energy space. In this location we build tiny homes in our green building program (new program companion of RET), two 1000 ft. solar installation roofs that have 240/208/277/480VAC 3 phase power hooked to the grid with live power to our 20kW solar PV systems, this hooks into our 220kW PV system on the roof. We also have a 5kW ground mounted PV system. Each of these solar systems use different racking, inverters and roof types. We have a small AC coupled 9kW microgrid hooked into this system.

We have two tiny houses we use for tiny home building, weatherization and energy auditing. We teach weatherization and energy auditing to the BPI envelope and shell standards. This course teaches to the LEED Green AP standard.

We have two 80-gallon biofuel stations, one for ethanol and one for biodiesel. We are working with chemistry and horticulture to teach a cross-student population in biofuels and ASTM grade fuel testing.

Our internal lab has woodworking, metal fabrication, and manufacturing space (the manufacturing department is in our building which is about 34,000 ft. of manual and CNC machines). We have a series of PV/Wind trainers, hydraulic/pneumatic trainers, mechanical system trainers, electromechanical energy management system (EMS) trainers and a simulated SCADA EMS integrated system. We also have an electronics and automation lab, with digital multi meters, Oscilloscopes, motor controls, PLC, microcontrollers, etc.

We have a Maker Space with three industrial 3D printers, CNC machines, tinsel testers, small furnaces, three robotic arms, a plasma cutter, a 60W CO2 laser, and a CNC vinyl cutter.

Yes, we continually talk with Portland regional employers. Students who wish to stay local, generally go into solar, weatherization, energy auditing, biofuel, building automation and manufacturing automation. Solar has a 23% growth rate and nearly 200 companies in Oregon, 60% of them are in Portland. Biofuels has a presence in rural farming, especially in the Willamette Valley areas focused on wine and beer production. Vestas’s headquarters is in Portland so we train with them at their training center to teach wind to the Global Wind Organization standards for Wind turbine technicians. Vestas, GE and Siemens generally hire all our students wanting to travel and go into wind. In Oregon, we are unique in that we also have Tidal, Wave and Geothermal projects along with long standing Hydroelectricity. About 50% of our energy is from renewable energy, so if students want to travel within Oregon and Washington State, they have many opportunities and the demand is high for job placement. 

Our program teaches practical hands-on training directly on the equipment they will use in the field. We teach direct application of renewables, and also fundamentals of a wide range of technology and skills that are used in several high paying positions. Renewable energy is an industrial system that just utilizes the technology in a different way. So, we focus on Energy Auditing, Solar Design & Installation, Wind Turbine Maintenance, and Biofuels but provide the knowledge to work on nearly any type of industrial system. This approach helps our students find high paying, long lasting careers with huge advancement without pigeonholing them into a particular field or industry.

We have an industry advisory board that consists of about fifteen Wind, Solar, Biofuel, Geothermal, Wave, Tidal, Energy Auditing, Farmers, ODOE, Energy Trust, PGE (a local utility) and Hydro industry professionals.

We currently don’t place our students directly, but they are required to get an internship for 120 hrs of work prior to graduation. They usually work for a wind, solar or building automation company during this time. We are looking into the idea of an apprenticeship model to have our students have a job starting day one and continuing all the way through the program and beyond. This would be provided to every student entering the program.

We have been recognized by the Governor as a Program of Excellence. We received two grants from the Department of Labor to support the program and to help with retraining of displaced workers when a local paper plant went out of business.

Ready to Learn more?

View the syllabus for Clackamas Community College's Renewable Energy Systems course, or visit Clackamas directly for more information on their Applied Associate Degree & Certificate programs.

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