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Posted on January 14, 2014

Arroyo Grande: Bright Ideas Grant Helps Students Learn About Solar Energy Technology

ARROYO GRANDE– Students at Arroyo Grande High School will have a leg up in learning about how solar works thanks to new classroom technology purchased with funding from PG&E.

Arroyo Grande High students Kevin Shalenberger (left) and Cole Watts demonstrate a new photovoltaic technology panel trainer. (Photos by Lindsey Miller.)

Today (Jan. 14), PG&E representatives visited the school where they handed over a ceremonial $10,000 check and had a chance to view a student demonstration using the new technology — a photovoltaic technology panel trainer. The school was awarded the funding as part of PG&E’s Bright Ideas program, began in 2005 to help public schools better understand the energy industry.

The photovoltaic technology panel trainer is a mobile piece of equipment that can used both inside the classroom as well as outdoors to help students understand how solar works.

Patrick Mullen, Central Coast region director in PG&E’s customer care department, made the check presentation to the school and talked about the importance of helping teach the next generation of energy-industry employees and leaders. Lucia Mar Unified School District officials were also on hand during the presentation, including district superintendent Jim Hogeboom.

Arroyo Grande High School, with about 2,200 students, is home to a new pathway program focused on energy, technology and environmental engineering. The goal of the program is to prepare students for careers and further study in the energy and utility industry sectors. The program is providing platform for students to obtain certifications in photovoltaic installation, residential and commercial energy auditing and water treatment.

PG&E’s Patrick Mullen (second from left) talks with Conan Bowers, Arroyo Grande High School principal (left), Lucia Mar Unified School District Superintendent Jim Hogeboom and student Matt Oliver Tuesday morning.

The students are learning about solar and its role in energy efficiency, and the new trainer provides information that is incorporated into classroom curriculum.

PG&E’s Bright Ideas grant program has awarded about $2 million to more than 300 schools throughout PG&E’s Northern and Central California service territory. Grants range from $1,000 to $10,000.

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"PG&E" refers to Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation.
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