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High School Students Preparing for Solar Job Opportunities

SRTC Students install solar panels at Alumni Stadium.

SRTC Students install solar panels at Alumni Stadium.

Credit: WSSR TV

By Kendra Williams

Students in the Electrical Wiring Program at Sanford Regional Technical Center are gaining real-life experience at its Clean Energy Learning Lab. Through a collaboration with Northeast Electric and Gowen Power Systems, students have installed solar panels on the field house building at Alumni Stadium.

This learning opportunity – described to School Committee members at the May 20 meeting – was developed by Jay Desmond from Northeast Electric, a board member of Skills USA, with Electrical Wiring instructor Tim Fecteau, also a board member. Their goal was to develop a “microgrid” that would provide some power benefit to the school as well as learning opportunities to current and future students.

Employers are interested in skilled employees with strong social skills and work ethic to meet the demand. This project provides students with the real feel and understanding of what’s important. It’s a small project that simulates a grid for a home. The solar panels already installed will not be removed. However, a final piece with solar panels is being put on the ground so it can be turned off each year, allowing new students to take the panels off and see what it’s like to install and test them.

President John Weyrens of Gowen Power Systems spoke about the importance of electricity in the future and of having passionate, skilled electricians. Currently, most people working on green energy are coming from out of state, making this a career with exciting opportunities here in Maine, he said.

The $30,000 project has been done at no cost to taxpayers due to collaboration and contributions from the companies involved. Jason Rowe, a current senior in the Electrical Wiring Program, expressed appreciation to all involved for giving him the opportunity to work on “what is basically the future.”

To view the full presentation from the May 20 School Committee meeting, go here.

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