A Pilot Program Flies High in the Central Valley


May 16, 2017

It was a hot day in Selma, California, but that didn't stop ten high school students from putting their classroom instruction to practical use on a local rooftop. A new "in-class" solar education pilot program, focusing on an introduction to solar, is teaching Selma High School students basic hands-on solar installation skills and helping low-income families save money on utility bills in the Central Valley.

Selma High School and Valley Regional Occupations Program (Valley ROP) has partnered with GRID Alternatives to offer this new program to Fresno County High Schools. GRID Alternatives Central Valley is committed to providing solar job training opportunities in the communities it serves. Individuals receiving training through this program are developing skills that foster ambition for advancement in educational pathways or lead to living wage employment in the solar industry upon graduation. Opportunities for students to be trained by industry professionals increase their potential for graduating, and industry connections encourage them to establish mentorships that assist their professional development. As a capstone unit of the course, students completed solar system installations for two local low-income households, providing opportunity, economic independence, and improving the quality of life for the families served.

These solar installaions help the Central Valley transition to clean energy, save money, and improve air quality. Solar power can provide our most disadvantaged communities long-term relief from unpredictable utility costs, and provide living wage jobs.

With the continued collaboration of Fresno County High Schools, Fabrizio Lofaro, Director of Instructional Services of Valley ROP, Daniel Mireles, the instructor of Manufacturing at Selma High School, along with GRID Alternatives staff, Shane Hess and Karina Gonzalez, this new pilot program can become a boundless pathway for our students in the Central Valley to fly high.