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Morrisville State students get hands-on lesson installing solar panels

MORRISVILLE, NY— Cazenovia residents Rita and Ray Raicht are getting a little help from Morrisville State students on their new home.

The students are assisting with the installation of a 28-panel, 7.41 kw system at the Raicht’s custom-built ranch on Argos Road.

The solar panel installation is a hands-on lesson in adjunct professor Glenn Steed’s Introduction to Solar Photovoltaics class, and a teaching tool that’s giving Morrisville students an edge in the renewable energy field.

“This is a great opportunity for them to gain hands-on skills in a real-world situation,” said Steed as he directed a team of students onto the Raicht’s roof.

It’s a lesson renewable resources technology student Steve Riggall hopes will set him apart from others when searching for a career in the industry. “We are actually doing the work. This gives us experience we can’t get inside a classroom.”

The solar installation project is part of Solarize Madison, an initiative that’s helping homeowners, businesses and others install solar energy panels at a discounted rate with fewer hurdles.

The stretch of solar panels across the Raicht’s roof is expected to save them a considerable amount on their energy bill.

While Steed and a team of students wearing harnesses and hard hats installed the panels, the Raichts looked on nearby. “We are so excited to get in on this initiative,” said Rita Raicht. “It is fabulous opportunity for us and also for students who are benefiting from the actual experience.”

Students from Dr. Phil Hofmeyer’s Solar Photovoltaic Systems class also helped at the site, installing module racking, micro inverters, and running electrical circuits.

The solar installation experience wasn’t new altogether to Morrisville students, or to Steed who has directed Morrisville students before in his role as installation coordinator at Arista Power, Inc., a company preselected by Solarize Madison to install the systems. That connection brought him to Morrisville to teach the college’s course in solar panel installation.

In addition to the Raichts, other Madison County residents are reaping the rewards of Solarize Madison, which was started by Morrisville State student, Jan Myers. Solarize Madison is the first volume purchasing solar initiative in New York State. Through the program, participants receive a discount on the initial installation costs through volume pricing.

Solarize Madison is made possible through the Madison County Planning Department and the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board with support from the Renewable Energy Training Center (RETC) at Morrisville State.

Morrisville State sets the world in motion for students. Curriculums are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology. Lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs, the college was named to the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. Visit www.morrisville.edu to experience, Morrisville in motion.

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