Villa Park High School Solar Pilot

vphsBrandon Bak, a senior at Villa Park High School, was able to install a solar panel pilot project with a $5,000 grant from BP solar that he and his biology teacher applied for. Currently, Brandon is looking for a student at his school who will hopefully bulid off his success and expand the solar effort on campus there. The story so far is best told in his own words:

“From my experience in school, I knew that the best lessons are taught by showing, not by telling. By installing solar panels on my school, I could prove to the community that I could do my part to save the environment, save money for the school, and enrich our science curriculum all at the same time.”

I quickly learned why other students had not pursued a project like this before. The research was extensive. Technical support was not very helpful, companies were near impossible to contact, and I had to use all of the resources that I had available to expand my knowledge of solar technology. I finally found a solar panel system that would work, but I knew that the hardest part was not over.

I still needed the approval from my principal, and the school district to install the system. Luckily, both my principal and Orange Unified School District were ecstatic about my project, and were able to approve the installation immediately due to its small size.

Finding a company to install my panels was a major problem. I had the funding to pay for the installation, but every company that I called did not see the benefit of installing such a small system. “We admire your desire to research alternative energy, but installing such a small system is not of value to us,” was the most common response from the companies. Advanced Solar Electric, however, saw my passion and knew that great things would come as a result of this project, so they installed the solar panels free of charge, and hired me as an intern for their company.

Upon later speaking with the principal, it became apparent that I had done more than just install solar panels. I had created an awareness with everyone who was involved in my project that alternative energy is viable in a public school setting. Hopefully, my project will become the gateway in which future projects of its kind will be molded.”

Download a newspaper article about the project here


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