Distributed energy and grid modernization certificate launches in Philadelphia

MALVERN, Pa. — Professionals in the renewable energy field or the electric utility sector can now enroll in Penn State’s graduate certificate in distributed energy and grid modernization. With courses offered in Philadelphia, Malvern, and online, this 12-credit program prepares students to develop the competencies needed to plan, design, build and maintain systems needed to operate a “smarter” electrical grid with distributed energy integration.

“Modernizing the nation’s utility grid is recognized as one of the 21st century’s most pressing engineering challenges,” said James Nemes, chancellor of Penn State Great Valley. “This certificate provides students the skills they’ll require to be part of these efforts to advance the technologies that will be required.”

As energy infrastructure moves from centralized plants to distributed resources — like solar photovoltaic cells on rooftops — practitioners need to make operations more resilient reliable, and sustainable. Distributed energy courses will help students understand current resources and how to manage them in the future. The grid management component of the certificate focuses on the technology needed to manage resources such as automated and smart metering capabilities.

The curriculum consists of two required courses — one on distributed energy and the second on power systems. Two elective courses allow students to specialize in one of three areas: grid operation and control, distributed energy generation and microgrid, or cybersecurity of energy systems. In-person courses held in Philadelphia include guest presentations from industry professionals.

“Students have the opportunity to interact with individuals who are engaged in cutting-edge microgrid demonstration initiatives at the Navy Yard,” said Parhum Delgoshaei, one of the program’s instructors. “They use real-time data being generated at the GridSTAR Center to complete assignments and understand the complex interaction of solar photovoltaic energy production, energy storage, building energy loads, electric vehicle charging, and the electric grid.”

Interested individuals can apply for admission through the Graduate School and should hold a four-year bachelor’s degree in science, engineering, or a closely aligned field. Current Penn State Great Valley graduate students are welcome to apply. More information can be found on the Penn State at The Navy Yard website.