NORTHWEST STATE IS TEST SITE FOR WIND, SOLAR POWERED STREET LAMP
Many local residents see Northwest State Community College as a place that helps shape educations and careers, but it is also a place that helps shape products, at least in the case of the ecopole from Savwatt. NSCC is one of a few test sites across the country for the LED light pole, which operates on an integrated 180-watt solar panel and 300-watt wind turbine.
Engineering faculty first learned of the ecopole when alternative energy student, Jeff Maassel, researched it as part of his capstone project. Maassel worked with Savwatt, the company that distributes the product, and secured a donated ecopole for NSCC to install, test and evaluate.
“The ecopole is a work in progress, and after a licensed electrical contractor installed it, we found that the lamp and charging system did not work,” said Dan Burklo, Northwest State’s dean of engineering. “Students from our computer science and electrical engineering programs volunteered to do the troubleshooting. They worked after class for several hours to take the ecopole apart, find the problems and fix them.”
The result is a functioning light pole, powered solely by the sun and wind. “Alternative energy students are monitoring production from the solar panel and wind turbine,” said Burklo. “We are working with Savwatt to report the output, and we will let them know about the other issues with the product and how they were fixed.”
The ecopole can be seen on the west end of NSCC’s campus. Student volunteers who fixed the ecopole are Shawn Fortman (Defiance), Alan Murphy (Liberty Center), George Singer (Defiance) and Josh Straka (Montpelier)