North Point Gets Greener

North Point Gets Greener

Throughout the past few weeks students have seen a new addition to North Point being built. That addition is a PV Array Solar Panel. On Monday, December 5th during fourth block, the Electrical Construction senior Science, Technology, and Industry (STI) students, Mr. Gascon, the Electrical Construction teacher, Mr. Wilson, Mrs. Hill, and members of the Board of Education gathered outside of the Electrical Construction shop for the ribbon cutting of the solar panel.

The solar panel was donated by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Local 26. The organization is an electrical union that offers apprenticeships and training to electrical contractors. The panel was donated so that North Point’s electrical construction students could learn about solar and alternative energy first hand.

The device takes the sun’s energy and puts it back into the electrical construction shop.  The energy collected comes into the Electrical Construction shop through pipes in direct currents and is connected to the electrical panels. The energy is then converted to alternated currents. The amount of energy collected is displayed on a screen which shows the daily amount collected from the solar panel. The amount of energy being produced is also available to be viewed on the internet. The screen sets off an alarm if there are any problems with the solar panel. The solar panel also has ground fog protection.

The partnership between IBEW and North Point’s Electrical Construction program has grown over the years. IBEW offers training to students while North Point offers classroom space for their classes in the evenings. “These types of partnerships between businesses and communities strengthen the community,” said David McCord, the director of the IBEW union.

At the ribbon cutting ceremony Mrs. Hill was presented with a plaque by McCord. Alex Colaciello (’12) and Blake Jackson (’12) held the ribbon, which was cut by Mrs. Hill and Mr. Gascon. Mr. Ronald Cunningham, Deputy Superintendent of Schools, said a few words at the ceremony. “We [the Board of Education] appreciate partnerships. Young men and women need these opportunities,” he said.

This new addition offers a great advantage to the electrical construction students to see first hand the most current, cutting edge technology. “It’s the latest and greatest. We’re not teaching things that were relevant twenty years ago, but what is relevant to today and the future,” commented Mrs. Hill.

“We train electricians and recruit from North Point. We hope this [the addition of solar panel] will inspire people to start a career in the industry and go to the IBEW for training,” added Ralph Neidert, a member of the union.

There is no solar panel portion of the curriculum, so a section has to be added. The program already also offers the foundations of electrical construction, but in 12th grade the program introduces advanced materials. The opportunities are made possible because of the partnership the school has with IBEW. The addition of this model of solar panel can lead to education on other varieties. The solar panel can also be utilized in multiple arenas. For example, math classes can use the data collected from the solar panel to calculate voltage.

Many of the students are also excited about the opportunities that are available to them now. “In the future alternative energy will be very important, so the donation helps up learn about solar panels,” expressed Jackson. Though the donation went to the Electrical Construction program as a whole, it will most specifically be a part of the senior curriculum. Basic knowledge of solar energy is introduced in the junior year. Students have to know energy theory to understand solar panels. “All the students know about the solar panel, but sophomores have less of an understanding than juniors and seniors, because they haven’t learned the basics,” commented Mr. Gascon.

The addition of the solar panel truly enhances North Point. “It makes North Point the best example of what a true career technology school should look like,” said Charles Wineland of the Board of Education. The solar panel makes students well prepared and qualified for a career in an electrical construction career.