Cloud County Community College Officially Breaks Ground on New Solar Energy Farm

By Toby Nosker
KNCK News Director

Cloud County Community College's Renewable Energy Technology program held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday, July 26th for their new energy-generating Sun Power Solar Farm.

Sun Power Solar Farm is part of the new solar energy technology training, which is now being offered at Cloud County under the Renewable Energy field of study. The program is intended to train students to become solar project designers, installers and operation technicians. The solar farm will be designed and built by college Solar Energy students. Solar classes will be offered in Fall 2018, and students will have a hands-on learning opportunity with the operational solar farm.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, Cloud County Community College President Dr. Adrian Douglas announced they've received word this week of a $150,000 grant award from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation to support the construction of the Solar Energy Farm on the college's Concordia campus.

As KNCK News previously reported, the Cloud County Community College Board of Trustees has agreed to commit $50,000 in matching support to a $100,883 grant award from USDA Rural Development to support the construction of the farm.

Travis Snider, Business Program Specialist with USDA Rural Development, told us about their support of the project.

The project will consist of up to 300 kilowatts of solar panels installed near the college's wind turbines. The power generated by the panels will help generate clean electrical energy for the college.

Greg Askren, Chairman of the Cloud County Community College Board of Trustees, spoke to KNCK News about their support of the project.

Cloud County Community College Wind Energy Instructor Andrew Clark is heading the solar program. Clark, originally from Glasco, began his college career at DeVry in Kansas City for Electrical Engineering Technology before transferring to Cloud County Community College for Wind Energy Technology. He returned to Cloud County Community College as a Wind Energy Instructor in August 2017.

Brady Lowell, a Republic County High School graduate and a Renewable Energy student at Cloud County Community College, took part in the program's first session of classes this summer.

Jeremy Ragsdale, a graduate of Basehor-Linwood High School and a sophomore student in the Wind Energy Technology Program at Cloud County Community College, told us he's excited to see the program expand into solar energy.

In April 2018, the Cloud County Commission awarded Cloud County Community College's Renewable Energy Technology Program $25,000 to assist in building out facilities and providing equipment for a partnership with Concordia High School. The college has proposed utilizing the former auto shop area at the high school to allow students from Concordia High School to attend college courses through the program free of tuition through Senate Bill 155.