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New Outdoor Solar Inverter Test Facility (OSITF) being built at St. Lawrence College in Kingston

2015-09-30, 11:27 AM

Construction is well underway for the new OSITF on the northwest field of the Kingston campus of SLC. The facility will be used to perform medium to long term testing and evaluation of inverters used in solar photovoltaic applications. 

This is what SLC is all about: providing practical, hands-on experiential learning for our students, according to Shannon Claggett, Associate Dean, Applied Science and Computing at St. Lawrence College.

“This unique facility will provide additional education and research infrastructure that will strengthen knowledge and expertise in the renewable energy field at St. Lawrence College,” Claggett said. “In addition, it will form part of the expanding research capabilities at St. Lawrence College which will allow for new collaborative development opportunities with industrial partners.”

Staff and students of SLC’s Sustainable Energy Applied Research Centre (SEARC) are involved in the design and project management activities associated with developing and the OSITF. SEARC staff and student research assistants will also manage the operation of the OSITF.

Inverters designed for outdoor installation will be tested in a “real world” setting where they will be fully exposed to the climatic conditions encountered in the eastern Ontario region. This facility will complement a smaller indoor inverter test facility also located at St. Lawrence College.

The OSITF will include a small building for the data acquisition and monitoring systems. Computers and appropriate laboratory grade data acquisition hardware and software will be procured for the project. 

A select group of students from the School of Applied Science and Computing, will be employed during the construction phase of the project to assist contractors in various construction and component installation activities. Once the OSITF is in operation, a smaller group of engineering technologist students will be employed to assist in inverter testing and facility operation. Activities associated with the OSITF will also be incorporated into some of the course curriculum provided by the School of Applied Science and Computing.

A number of inverter manufacturers, solar module manufacturers and other partners are providing in-kind contributions of materials, technical support and expertise. Utilities Kingston and SPARQ Systems are two local partners contributing support to the development of the OSITF. Funding for the project was awarded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Research Fund.

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About St. Lawrence College

With three friendly campuses in Brockville, Cornwall, and Kingston, St. Lawrence College is an integral part of the economic life and social fabric of Eastern Ontario with a close-knit community of 7,000 full-time students, and more than 70,000 proud alumni. Hundreds are also enrolled in our online and continuing education courses each year. As part of our ongoing sustainability initiatives, the College boasts more than 1,600 rooftop solar modules on our Kingston and Brockville campuses, the largest solar roof-top installation of any post-secondary institution in Canada. The college has many Applied Research projects in progress, as well, our Corporate Learning and Performance Improvement group has helped more than 350 organizations grow and prosper. Through our Employment Service offices we work with thousands of clients annually.