Mesalands adding solar energy class

The North American Wind Research and Training Center at Mesalands Community College will be offering a new course, Introduction to Solar Energy, this semester.

The course will allow the college, internationally known for its wind energy technology program, to expand into other renewable energy fields.

Introduction to Solar Energy is a 3-credit course and will be instructed by Robert G. Hockaday, president and founder of Energy Related Devices in Tucumcari.

Energy Related Devices is a new business in Tucumcari that builds solar electricity water pumping systems for farmers and ranchers. This business was located in Los Alamos, but relocated to Tucumcari to better serve customers.

Hockaday explains the high demand for solar energy.

"The whole solar energy field is very dynamic right now," Hockaday said. "This industry has been growing 35 percent per year and has been doing that for the past 20 years. We are projecting that in 2017, solar energy will be competitive with the fossil fuel power plants."

Hockaday worked at the Los Alamos Natural Laboratory for 15 years. He has a master's degree in mechanical engineering and a bachelor's degree in physics. Hockaday also has 20 issued patents and three pending patents on various energy systems.

He says he's excited to be teaching the new solar energy course at Mesalands and encourages anyone that is interested in solar energy, or the practical point of view, to register.

Students in the Introduction to Solar Energy course will learn about small and large solar energy devices, the cost of residential solar panels, and will gain hands on experience installing and diagnosing solar energy equipment. Course Topics include: Historical Roots of Solar Power, Solar Energy Terminology and Components, Market Developments and the Future of Solar Power, Solar Power Installations, and the Roles and Players involved.

Weekly classes will start Sept. 25 and will end Dec. 4.

Classes will be held on Tuesdays at the Wind Center. Interested students should contact (575) 461-4413, ext. 156, or toll-free at (800) 261-4877.

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