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Teaching Kids About Solar

530 students from school districts across California are scheduled to take part in learning about solar energy.

Nearly 1,000 students and more than 110 teachers have participated in this program since it was launched in 2012; the enrollment rate for this year’s program is nearly double that of last summer’s.

The program is delivered over the course of one week in each participating region, immersing high-school students in a curriculum of projects and activities structured around the acronym STEM: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Students and teachers are teamed with solar industry professionals in laboratory work and field trips to California solar installations. The program concludes with the students presenting their knowledge to a panel of solar industry representatives, school board members, teachers, and community leaders.

“As solar power plays an increasingly critical role in meeting global energy demand, students participating . . . may be the engineers and business leaders charting our energy future.” “In the process of learning about solar technology and energy solutions, the students’ enthusiasm and ability to understand complex concepts is very inspiring. Solar power is proud of the increasing number of participants interested in solar power.”

The 2016 schedule started with thirty-six students and teachers from Pajaro Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) joining STEM instructors and California solar professionals at Cabrillo College in Watsonville, California to learn about residential solar power systems.

“This is the third year we are offering this program to our students and staff, and we’re excited to get started,” said PVUSD Assistant Superintendent Susan Perez. “[our solar energy education program] brings relevant and real-life knowledge into the classroom, while preparing students for the challenges of the 21st century. We’re proud to support the development of our districts young people with this valuable STEM curriculum during the summer months.”

Other Northern California districts taking part in this summer’s academy include Antioch, Benicia, East Side Union, Fairfield-Suisun, Mount Diablo, Napa Valley, Oakland, Pittsburg, San Jose, San Rafael City, San Ramon Valley, Tamalpais Union, Travis, Vacaville, Vallejo, Novato, and West Contra Costa. Central Valley districts enrolled in the program include Dinuba, Kern, Lindsay, Lemoore, Orosi, and Porterville. In Southern California, the districts of Santa Ana, Colton, Fontana, Grossmont, Moreno Valley, Oxnard, Rialto, and San Bernardino City are all participating.

In twenty-three districts, the solar power has been installed more than ninety megawatts, which, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, generates an amount of power equivalent to that of 22,500 average Californian homes.

In 2014, The Solar Foundation estimated that over 3,700 K-12 schools in the States have solar power installations onsite, serving nearly 2.7 million students across the nation and saving approximately $77.8 million in annual electricity costs.

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