Students design, build and install solar panels in program at NYC high school

ByBrittany Bell and Eyewitness News via WABC logo
Thursday, May 5, 2022
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A bold program at Thomas Edison Career and Technical Education High in Queens teaches students to design, build and install solar panels.

JAMAICA, Queens (WABC) -- The campaign to embrace alternative sources of energy will be a part of the future for young people, exemplified by a bold program at a high school in Queens where students are learning how to design, build and install solar panels.

"It's so much fun connecting all the switches, all the lights, and then finally energizing it and seeing all your hard work come together, and it actually properly functions," student Victoria Premchand said. "It's the best part of this class."

It's all part of a three-year electrical installation program at Thomas Edison Career and Technical Education High School. Students also learn about solar panels in partnership with the Solar One.

"Solar One is a non-profit, and they provide us with training, and they provide us with equipment and materials," teacher Anthony Cooper said. "They come in every year and for about five days they work with me teaching the students."

The program is also involved with a larger commitment by the city to reduce emissions from government operations by 50% in 2023.

So far the high school has 1,504 solar panels installed on its roof, which offsets 65% of the school's annual energy use -- and students are excited to be pioneers in the effort.

"It feels great, because I know this is something still relatively new, and we're kind of still figuring it out along the way," student Roy Rodriguez said.

The hands-on experience is especially rewarding for those who are underrepresented in this field.

"There's not many girls in this class, so being the one of like a few girls in this class makes me feel empowered knowing that there's not many of us here," Premchand said. "And I'm learning things that not a lot of women know how to do."

At first, the lessons were tough, but the hard work pays off.

"At the end of the day, you're going to get it if you really want this to be your future," Rodriguez said.

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