PUEBLO – Pueblo Community College is the recipient of a $50,000 grant from the Xcel Energy Foundation that will fund a solar lab faculty position for PCC’s renewable energy program.
Ben Fowke, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy, announced the award Tuesday at PCC. The money will be used to retain experts in the solar industry as instructors for the school’s new program.
“As we lead the clean energy transition and pursue our vision to deliver 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2050, it is vital we have the best and brightest learning about and developing the new clean energy technologies needed to achieve that goal,” said Fowke. “I am pleased to support Pueblo Community College’s work to give students the knowledge and skills necessary to join the clean energy industry.”
PCC has been a longtime leader in working with business partners to develop a local workforce with customizable skills that industries desire.
“This program shows our commitment to help fill the pipeline with highly skilled individuals – in this case, the field of renewable energy technicians,” said PCC President Patty Erjavec. “Our partnership with Xcel Energy exemplifies the power of strong education and industry relationships. We are so appreciative of this very generous gift, which will provide the college with the necessary resources to ensure the development and delivery of the curriculum needed to support the job growth related to renewable energy in our region.”
Last August, PCC partnered with NextEra Energy Resources to create a living laboratory on the PCC campus. NextEra will install 52 photovoltaic solar panels to create a 20-kilowatt solar energy system, as well as provide training and curriculum to help the college produce skilled workers for the rapidly evolving industry.
Students will be able to use the learning lab as they study how to operate and maintain the system, analyze its data and build predictive analysis systems to optimize its operations.
Xcel Energy’s Colorado Energy Plan calls for significant investment in solar and energy storage in Pueblo County.
Founded in 1933, Pueblo Community College is a premier teaching institution focused on providing academic and service excellence to help its students acquire the 21st Century skills needed to better their lives. An educational and technological leader, PCC fosters economic development and utilizes strong partnerships in the communities it serves through its Pueblo, Fremont and Southwest campuses.