Southern State Community College (SSCC) announced a partnership at a Wednesday event with Innergex Renewable Development and the Southern State Community College Foundation.
Innergex, according to David Little, managing director of Innergex Renewable Development USA, is a renewable energy company based in Canada.
At the event, Innergex awarded a $60,000 check to Dr. Kevin Boys, the president of Southern State, and said that for the 35-year lifespan of the Hillcrest Solar Energy Facility in Brown County, the company would gift the college $6,000 each year for those 35 years.
“Our plan is to put this to use through our foundation, through scholarships to our students who are studying engineering for possible new coursework specifically geared toward renewable energy,” Dr. Boys said. “That’s not developed to date”
A presentation at the event said the funding would also be used to help support an Electro-Mechanical Technology degree and other training programs at the college. It said the degree is a “strong foundation” for curriculum in solar energy certification, but that that the funding might be used to “stand up” for a new program. It also said there is potential for partnerships with local career centers and related skills training.
“It just really comes back to uniqueness of Innergex… These types of agreements with Southern State and schools, this allows us to have connection and long-term partnership with you… There’s an opportunity certainly for the college and for this area to become cleaner, more renewable, richer,” Little said. “We think it’s a great opportunity.”
The presentation stated that Southern State and Hillcrest Solar entered into an agreement in 2019 which will go into effect after the facility commercial operation date in summer 2021. It said the foundation will help support and fund education and training for students that are interested in renewable energy and engineering programs.
It also said that there will be two annual site visits to the Hillcrest facility for students and that the visits would be free if the facility is operating.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.