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CHS students help Modesto family go solar
Students from the Ceres High School Manufacturing, Production and Green Technology Academy lift solar panels onto a roof in Modesto recently. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Students from the Ceres High School Manufacturing, Production and Green Technology (MPGT) Academy last week conducted a joint solar installation on the home of a family in need in southwest Modesto.

The installation was one of the 12 solar installations that the MPGT will conduct with Grid Alternatives this year and will be the 1200th home installation conducted with the Grid Alternatives Central Valley office.

Installing solar electric systems is nothing new for Academy students. Since 2013 students have been traveling to install systems in Merced County. For the time ever, the installations took place in Ceres in 2015.

Teams of seniors were dispatched to a home on Theron Way to give the household a chance to enjoy very low electric rates for many years. Students were at the site Thursday and Friday.

Ceres High School officials have teamed up with Grid Alternatives, a non-profit organization that introduces the benefits of solar technology to low-income communities. The organization has installed solar systems on hundreds of roofs since 2009. Students help install solar panels which they have learned about in the classroom.

«We provide the equipment and construction supervisors and we support the family with financial programs so at the end of the day this family's going to end up getting the system that they're not going to pay anything for,» said Tom Esqueda, the regional director of Grid Alternatives of Fresno.

The family that received the installation may expect a 75 to 80 percent savings on their electric bill every month.
He said many families then find a way to ramp up conservation measures to where they are seeing bills that were 95 percent less than previously.

The four-year Academy program has the freshmen studying dietary, recycling and mechanics. Solar projects come in the junior and senior years.

The solar panels have a 15-year guarantee and new micro-converters will signal the owner when panels go bad.