Georgia Power and Microsoft announced more than a $200,000 investment in support of Clark Atlanta University’s (CAU) Makerspace and Advanced Manufacturing Lab. The lab is developed to give entrepreneurial undergraduate students the opportunity to expand their knowledge, skill set and market competitiveness in the renewable energy space. Through the program, students will build an advanced solar-powered generator that will ultimately serve as a backup energy source for their campus, while supporting predominantly African American communities in the Atlanta area.
With the financial investment from Georgia Power and Microsoft’s Community Empowerment Fund and University Relations team, CAU students and faculty will also experiment with solar capabilities around increasing Wi-Fi internet access and supporting emerging 5G technology infrastructure. Further, this investment will give work opportunities for students in an innovative and sustainable sector while creating intellectual property through a community enterprise venture.
“Through this partnership with Microsoft, Georgia Power is proud to support opportunities for students and our state’s future workforce that will enhance their knowledge, skills and interest in the renewable energy space,” said Bentina Terry, Senior Vice President of Region External Affairs & Community Engagement at Georgia Power. “As a committed partner and champion of Historically Black Colleges & Universities across Georgia, we are excited to partner with CAU’s students on this entrepreneurial venture that closely aligns with our sustainability and philanthropic goals.”
In addition to providing a backup energy source for communities during power outages, students of the program will have the opportunity to support their local communities with solar power at outdoor events and engagements.
“Microsoft is honored to partner with Georgia Power and Clark Atlanta University to support the solar-powered generator student venture to empower education and workforce development in the sustainability sector,” said Rahul Joshi, Director of Datacenter Community Development. “The Microsoft Community Empowerment Fund Awards are an important way for the company and our employees to contribute to stronger, more resilient communities.”
The Microsoft Community Empowerment Fund, created and managed by Microsoft’s Datacenter Community Development team, is designed to support community-led and prioritized projects, increase collaboration among contributors and award recipients, and develop ecosystems that help deliver common community priorities. Through this approach, Microsoft hopes to achieve long-term, systemic and holistic outcomes in the communities in which it operates.
“Clark Atlanta University is thankful to both Microsoft and Georgia Power for this amazing partnership in support of our scholars. Initiatives like this provide invaluable experiences and opportunities for our students ultimately preparing them to be successful in the workforce, and that is our mission and goal here at Clark Atlanta University,” said President George T. French Jr., Ph.D.
CAU students are currently working on a prototype of the first solar-powered generator. Projects like this align with Clark Atlanta’s student leadership development goals in 2022.
“The Microsoft and Georgia Power gift support is well appreciated. It will go a long way in enhancing the creativity of our students in the Dual Degree Engineering Program, the CAU Visualization, Design and Design Laboratory (ViSiDeL)/Center for Alternative, Renewable Energy, Technology and Training (CARET2),” said Dr. Olu Olatidoye, professor, Dual Degree Engineering (DDE) at Clark Atlanta University. “It will also support our students in the Energy Club and Environmental Leadership Initiative (ELI) in ongoing Solar Energy Project in collaboration with external partner, Remix.”