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FSU Receives ‘Champion Award’ for Developing WISE Demo System and WISE Certified Education Program

The Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia section of the Solar Energy Industries Association (MDV-SEIA), a leading national trade association for the solar energy industry, presented Frostburg State University with a “Champion Award” on Dec. 5 at the Solar Focus 2009 Conference in Annapolis, Md. Oguz Soysal and Hilkat Soysal, faculty members of the FSU Department of Physics and Engineering who direct FSU’s renewable energy projects, accepted the award, which recognizes FSU’s success in establishing a renewable energy demonstration and training program and its Wind and Solar Energy Residential Demonstration System, WISE.

Hilkat Soysal said, “We are happy to see that Frostburg State University has been recognized for its ongoing renewable energy research and education activities by an industrial association. This is the first time an educational institution has received this award.”

“Our goal is to provide unbiased knowledge to homeowners and installers for more effective use of residential wind and solar energy,” Oguz Soysal said.

The Soysals have focused on a variety of areas to expand FSU’s educational and research opportunities in renewable energy. In the summer of 2007 FSU installed a residential demonstration system powered by wind and solar energy with $53,813 from the Maryland Energy Administration. A broad range of informative meetings and seminars were offered to increase public awareness of the residential applications of wind and solar energy.

As one of the major outcomes of the WISE demonstration project, FSU received a grant in the amount of $45,816 in September 2007 from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to develop the Wind-Solar Energy (WISE) Certified Education Program. In addition to ARC funds, local sources provided $93,379, bringing the total project funding to $139,195.Two separate pilot workshops were offered in spring 2008 to provide basic knowledge on design, installation and maintenance of residential wind and photovoltaic (PV) generation systems. Thirty-one participants attended the pilot workshops between March 31 and June 1, 2008. Currently 41 individuals are enrolled in the fall session of the WISE Certified Education Program.

Due to the positive reception of the first two sessions and the growing demand for the program, FSU will offer the WISE Certified Education workshops twice a year. The spring 2009 session will be offered March 12 and May 31, 2009. Each workshop consists of 8 weeks of interactive online instruction and 3 days of conventional instruction at FSU, including hands-on training and laboratory work. The program also utilizes the Wind-Solar Energy system installed on the FSU campus and prepares participants to take the entry-level certification test offered by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners for solar PV installation. BP Solar and Solar Energy Industries Association MD-DC-VA section sponsor the workshop by providing instructional materials and speakers.

For more information about the program, visit or contact Hilkat Soysal at 301-687-3166 or by e-mailing To learn more about MDV-SEIA, visit

FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call 301-687-4102 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258.

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589