Students at Delta H.S. install new solar panels thanks to community partners

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DELTA, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- Students at Delta High School are installing solar panels to help save money and energy.

They're the first of four schools to install them. Olathe, Hotchkiss, and Cedaredge High Schools are up next.

"We are never going to stop using electricity so solar panels are I believe a better alternative,” said Oryan Whetstone, senior at Delta High School.

The panels and student participation are the result of an innovative partnership between Delta and Montrose County School Districts and the solar energy educational non-profit, Solar Energy International (SEI).

Science teacher Ben Graves has run the solar energy training class for the past three years at Delta High School.

"By having students out here by the job site observing, asking questions and then being a part of it, it makes this invisible thing, visible,” said Graves.

The class partners with SEI, helping give students the tools they need to become entry level solar installers by the end of the year.

"Renewable energy is really the future for Western Colorado and getting students job training in this field is super important,” said Graves.

Every year Graves’ students are part of a solar installation project. This one was made possible by Delta Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) and services from Atlasta Solar Center.

"We've learned a lot about wiring, about different types of solar panels and it's a good class to get everybody involved, get some hands on experience on what could be possibly a future career trade,” said Whetstone.

Students will help design, install, and wire the panels.

"I am so proud just to know that we are making changes here at Delta High School,” said Whetstone.

Brightening students futures, while at the same time saving energy and money for many years to come.

"The students did the calculation that it's going to be close to $3-4,000 per school, per year,” said Graves.

The DMEA board voted to allocate $150,000 of unclaimed capital credits towards programs like this.

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