August 2017

Ten Years of Alternative Energy, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects at the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute


Nader Vadie, Ph.D.


The Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute’s (SIPI) Renewable Energy Program intends to continue to design, install, operate and maintain renewable energy (RE) technology hardware—photovoltaic, wind and solar hot water systems—on and around the campus, to supplement and create hands-on educational resources to train Native American students.


SIPI’s Renewable Energy Program’s goals are:

·                To enable students’ pursuit of advanced studies in RE engineering and technology, preparing them for technical careers

·        To provide examples and demonstrate practical uses of RE technology for students, faculty and the community at large


These goals have already been advanced through the commercial RE systems that have been installed and used on SIPI’s campus for 10 years and through the integration into the school’s curriculum of an innovative academic program in the burgeoning fields of RE, energy efficiency (EE) and green building. It is our firm belief that EE implementation and training come first and take precedence over RE technology training and implementation.


There is a lot of interest and excitement on the part of our students in these areas, especially those with the aspiration and commitment to go back to their communities to create jobs and help improve the local economy. Since the fall of 2007, SIPI’s research and development projects have included community outreach components.


Some of SIPI’s past and ongoing projects in EE and RE:

1.     Wind Turbine Design – Vertical and Horizontal Axis – Argonne National Lab – Indian Energy Program – National Championship for SIPI team

2.     Biofuel Technology – Alga to Bio-diesel Process – Argonne National Lab – Indian Energy Program – National Championship for SIPI

3.     Energy Audit for the existing building on the SIPI campus – American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) grant

4.     Jémez Pueblo Solar Power Plant – Feasibility Study – American Indian Research and Education Initiative (AIREI) – AIHEC grant

5.     Jémez Pueblo Hot Springs Utilization – Feasibility Study – American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) grant

6.     Solar Tracker based on GPS information – New Mexico’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (NM EPSCOR)

7.     Watershed Visualization Table – NM EPSCOR

8.     Photo Luminance System Design and LED Technology – University of New Mexico sub-award and AIREI-AIHEC grant

9.     Smart Lighting Design for the Engineering (International Conference on Microwaves Antenna, Propagation & Remote Sensing (ICMARS) Lab. – UNM Center for High Technology Materials (CHTM Center) and AIREI – AIHEC grant

10.Solar Decathlon – A SIPI–UNM collaboration



Nader Vadie, Ph.D., is a faculty member and coordinator of SIPI’s Engineering Technology Program.




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