Hagerstown Community College announced that Zebulon Hull, of Hancock, is the first student in HCC’s Alternative Energy Technology (AET) Program to intern at a renewable energy company.
Although he had taken classes previously at the college, Hull, 27, decided to enroll full-time in fall 2010 once he learned of HCC’s new AET program, which was launched the same year. According to Hull, he became interested in alternative energy sources after high school as he learned more about the rising costs of energy and the negative impact that fossil fuels have on the environment.
“I was hit hard by the recession and the internship as a whole has opened my eyes to the reality that people are serious about utilizing alternative energy and that jobs in the field really do exist,” says Hull.
During his internship at Millennium 3 Energy, an energy company that specializes in solar photovoltaic (PV) system design and installation, Hull was able to gain first-hand experience with the installation of solar PV systems when he worked with the company on a variety of solar installation projects including the addition of a 100.8 kilowatt system on a building at Sharrett Auto Mall in Hagerstown and the installation of 52.17 kilowatt system on a milking barn in Boonsboro. For the Sharrett project, Hull worked with solar technicians and electricians to install 429 solar panels on the import garage building, which will produce over 120,000 kilowatt hours per year. The system is expected to last for more than 25 years and will pay for itself in four years time.
“My internship began with the Sharrett project right here in Hagerstown,” says Hull. "The fact that a local business has the foresight to invest in this technology and implement a change in how its energy needs are met is refreshing. Hopefully, other area businesses will follow Sharrett's example in taking steps to initiate energy independence and the financial benefits ensuant with it."
“It’s exciting to see our first alternative energy intern performing so well with Millennium 3 Energy,” says Anthony Valente, lead instructor of HCC’s alternative energy program. “These internships provide students with real-world experience and a sense of accomplishment, while at the same time providing part-time workers with skills that would have otherwise taken years to master if only learned on the job.”
“As a young company in a growth industry, it's a great help to me that HCC has the alternative energy program,” says Phil Kelly, owner, Millennium 3 Energy. “My first, and probably not last, intern from the program, Zebulon Hull, came to me with excellent knowledge of solar PV systems, and he was productive immediately on the job. While solar PV is not widespread in our region yet, it will be one day, and knowledgeable workers will be needed to support it. Most of those workers will probably come from HCC's AET program.”