Campus & Community

Student project brings sun powered resource to campus

Redo Solar Tree-SliderWalk in front of the BioScience Technology Complex on the Palm Beach Gardens campus and you’ll notice a peculiar looking wooden object with a clean energy function that everyone on campus can use.

The structure, called the “Solar Tree” bench, is the proud creation of Electrical Power Technology students Ronny Grullon and Jordian Forbes.

“We wanted to be able create something that students could charge their electronic devices on while also enjoying the beauty of the outdoors,” said Forbes.

Grullon and Forbes, who both have an interest in renewable energy, created the bench as a capstone project with several goals in mind.

“We wanted it to blend well with the environment, produce enough energy for continuous use to power electrical devices, and show students the possible uses of solar energy and how they can take advantage of it in their everyday lives.”

It took Grullon and Forbes about a month and a half to create the structure. It was the first time that either of them designed and built such a piece.

“It was definitely a hard project to create,” said Grullon. “We didn’t have an exact plan as to how to build it initially. We just started cutting up wood into angles, and it developed from there. At one point, I had to take off from my job for three weeks straight and work seven days a week with Jordian just to get it done.”

The features of the tree are:
• (15) 10 watt solar panels
• (6) 12 volt batteries with a switch for manual shutoff
• (4) dual port USB charge ports
• (16) LED lights
• (1) light sensor which turns the LED’s on or off based on the surrounding light

According to the Palm Beach Gardens facilities department, the tree will be a feature on campus for at least the next year.

Solar Tree photo
From left: Jordian Forbes and Ronny Grullon

“We are really proud of the project and have been receiving a lot of positive feedback from students, faculty and outside individuals,” said Forbes.

The two presented the solar tree to more than 100 people including fellow students, potential students, faculty, business and industry partners, and community members in April during EPT’s annual student capstone project presentations on the Palm Beach Gardens campus.

Grullon graduated Monday with an Associate in Science degree in electrical power technology. He currently works as a mechanical technician for Lockheed Martin and hopes to start a career in electrical technology.

Forbes has a couple more classes to finish before he graduates from the EPT program. He then plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.

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