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Ed Franklin - Passion for Solar Energy

Posted by: chris
March 26, 2014

What is your passion project? What is the project that gets you excited and makes your work worthwhile? For Ed Franklin, PV is his passion project.

Ed is an Associate Professor of Agricultural Education at the University of Arizona. He teaches courses in welding, machinery management, electrical wiring, irrigation, and turf management, and integrates his passion project, PV, into almost all of these topics. For Ed, PV is a vehicle to teach the basic concepts of math and science. Classroom theory, such as Ohm’s Law, is applied when students design and install PV systems at their Campus Agricultural Center.

Ed started this passion project with funding from UA’s student-run Green Fund Committee. The group allocates funding each year to projects that make UA a more sustainable campus.  Ed integrates UA’s goal of sourcing 40% of its energy from alternative resources into his classroom and lab work with funding from this Green Fund for PV projects.  He uses PV to power irrigation pumps and greenhouse fans and to off-set the cost the loads of nearby research labs.

In order to teach his students about PV, Ed has done a lot of learning himself. After his first PV101 course, Ed said he “got hooked!” He has taken SEI’s PV101, 202, 351L, MH101 (micro-hydro), and attended Tucson’s Inspector Training. This summer, he plans on taking PV203 and 301L. Ed also helped coordinate SEI’s recent PV101 that we hosted at his Campus Agriculture Center. SEI courses have helped Ed develop this passion project, providing him with the skills and confidence to work on arrays and projects with students.

For Ed, students aren’t just learning about AC and DC wiring, but they are learning about where their energy comes from.  In all his classes, Ed is demonstrating sustainability. For example, in the welding shop, students were using tap water to cool hot welding tools and then just pouring this water down the drain; this is not wise water use in the desert! So Ed installed a 2000-gallon rainwater harvesting cistern to collect water to use to cool the tools and another drum to filter and store the used water. He then worked with the students to install a PV pump that then uses the filtered water to irrigate plants.

It is an honor to help contribute to Ed’s passion project by providing him with training. Is PV your passion project? Let SEI help you realize your passion project!


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