The Colby Community College Renewable/Sustainable Energy program received a $5,000 grant from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation to aid in building a mock rooftop with live solar panels. The system is located at the CCC Agricultural Center east of Colby.

“Students will learn to install, test, and maintain a live solar photovoltaic grid-tied system on a rooftop without having to climb up on an actual roof,” said program director Derek Reilley.

The rooftop frame was built in the summer of 2015 with funding through a separate grant. The project is also being partially funded through the departmental budget, and cash and gift in-kind donations of community members.

While Reilley teaches online courses in both solar photovoltaic and small wind technology this spring, the mock-rooftop system is expected to be completed by the end of the semester and have a long-term impact.

“Future students will be able to use this real-world lab for years. In addition, it will reduce our carbon footprint by reducing the utility bill at the college farm.”

The grant application was reviewed by the Thomas County Advisory Committee. Based in Logan, the Hansen Foundation was established in 1965 and provides awards each year to recipients demonstrating a desire for community improvement in northwest Kansas.

Reilley said donations are still being accepted to complete the project but it could not have progressed without the support of several people. “I would like to thank the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, community members who have donated, and CCC Endowment Director Jen Schoenfeld.”