New facility at ITE College East to let students experience solar energy tech

The ITE-Sembcorp Centre for Sustainable Solutions is fitted with technology used in generating electrical power from the sun - known as photovoltaic systems.
The ITE-Sembcorp Centre for Sustainable Solutions is fitted with technology used in generating electrical power from the sun - known as photovoltaic systems.ST PHOTO: YONG LI XUAN

Institute of Technical Education (ITE) electrical engineering student Gabriel Rodriguez Santos, 17, will no longer need to pin his hopes on an internship to get hands-on experience in installing solar panels.

Instead, he and his course mates in the Higher Nitec course in electrical engineering at ITE College East can practise installing the 20kg panels on campus.

A new purpose-built facility on the ITE grounds will allow students to gain experience with solar panels and with running other solar energy systems.

Called the ITE-Sembcorp Centre for Sustainable Solutions, it is the product of a tie-up between ITE and Singapore-based energy and waste management company Sembcorp Industries.

The centre is fitted with technology used in generating electrical power from the sun - known as photovoltaic systems.

It also has a device that provides live data on the performance of the panels installed on the rooftops of both ITE College East and ITE College Central.

In a speech yesterday at the opening of the facility, Mr Koh Chiap Khiong, Sembcorp's chief executive for Singapore and South-east Asia, said ITE students will not be the only ones who will benefit from it.

"Besides grooming young talent, we will also help to convert or upgrade the skills of mid-career professionals looking to become solar technologists," he said.

"This means that mature job seekers will also benefit from hands-on training in our centre."

There are plans to build a similar facility at ITE College West in the future, said Sembcorp yesterday.

For students like Gabriel, who plans to work in the chemical engineering field, the centre offers a glimpse into the future.

"It gives me insight into what clean energy is about, which is a sector I'm interested in, given the global warming crisis we are facing," he said.