Amarillo College is seeking nearly $900,000 from the National Science Foundation to add solar energy education as a program at its Amarillo and Dumas campuses.Such a program would partner with AC’s growing wind energy programs, which regents approved in September.
“It would allow us to add to our renewable energy culture,” said Danita McAnally, AC’s dean of assessment and development.
The college’s final grant application is due Oct. 15, but college officials have started the application process.
“You have to do a preliminary submission, which we’ve done,” McAnally said. “We haven’t heard anything back from the preliminary application yet.”
AC officials expect to hear an answer by early 2010, McAnally said. The money would be distributed over three years.
“In Texas, there’s not a complete curriculum in solar energy at community colleges,” McAnally said.
Ken Starcher, director of the Alternative Energy Institute at West Texas A&M University, said training programs for renewable energy of any kind are few and far between across the country.
“Amarillo College is doing the right thing,” Starcher said. “They’re looking forward and saying ‘Where’s the need?’”
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