Wind turbine installed at Washington County Tech High

Students researched, helped to design device that will produce electricity for school

August 31, 2011|By JANET HEIM |
  • Carlos Fernandez-Bueno watches the installation of a wind turbine Wednesday at Washington County Technical High School. Potomac Wind Energy installed the device which will provide power to part of the school.
By Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — After about 18 months of design and construction work and securing the required permits, the wind turbine at Washington County Technical High School was installed on the school’s property on Wednesday.

Tech High Principal Jeffrey Stouffer said in a phone interview that the turbine is ready to operate and will begin generating electricity when the wind speed reaches 7 mph.

The Skystream 3.7 features a 45-foot pole with 6-foot fiberglass reinforced composite tri-blade, Stouffer said.

Students did some of the design and all of the research, Stouffer said. He said they used NASA statistics to calculate the wind speed and selected the highest point on the school’s property, the spot with the most westerly and southwesterly winds.

Seven cubic yards of concrete were poured for the foundation, with large bolts securing the pole.

The 1.8-kilowatt residential power appliance is believed to be the only wind generator in the Tri-State area at a school, Stouffer said. It will generate energy with winds of 7 miles per hour.

“It will produce an estimated $900 of electricity per year. It actually produces electricity for our school,” Stouffer said.

Pre-engineering students will use a wireless monitoring system hooked up to a software package to monitor the wind speed and the amount of kilowatt energy produced. The energy produced will go directly into a breaker box.

“It’s just a neat process. To take wind and send power into the high school’s Pre-engineering area to use — it’s just really cool technology. I’ve never seen this before,” Stouffer said. 

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