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Students Find Solar Careers

Students find solar careers

CV-TEC in Mineville adds Photovoltaic Training Lab

by Lohr McKinstry

March 2, 2018

 Cutting the ribbon at the new CV-TEC Photovoltaic Training Lab in Mineville are, from center left: Supt. Dr. Mark Davey, Instructor Kevin Shaw, Taylor Kimbrell of Apex Solar, and School Director Michele Friedman, surrounded by students in the Construction Trades program.

Photo by Lohr McKinstry


MINEVILLE | Students at the CV-TEC campus in Mineville are now learning how to install and service solar panels.

The Photovoltaic Training Lab at the Champlain Valley Technical Education Center was donated by Apex Solar of Queensbury and Keene, and a recent dedication ceremony was held at the school.

Construction Trades Instructor Kevin Shaw said solar installations have increased about 25 percent in the last 15 years.

“New York state was number five in the country, with 8,000 jobs in the solar industry,” he said. “There’s huge, vertical momentum in the industry. This works hand-in-hand with our other programs.”

He said there are careers paths students can follow, like professional installers or inspectors, in the solar industry.

“They can get hands-on training with us and take the courses they need,” Shaw said. “Our students (also) work on roofing skills; it’s another field they do.”

Students helped build the solar lab at CV-TEC, he said.

Student D.J. Taylor demonstrates fall-safety using a harness in a simulated rooftop solar panel installation at CV-TEC in Mineville.

Photo by Lohr McKinstry


Eighth-grade student Matt Porter of Keene Central School demonstrated a solar panel fastener installation.

“I like to have options,” he said later. “By the time of graduation, I could be a solar installer.”

Regional Manager Taylor Kimbrell of Apex Solar said his company needs workers with solar training.

“We need workers with the growth of the solar industry,” he said. “We have 150 full-time employees now. We’re really excited about this partnership.”

He said the recent 30 percent tariff on imported solar panels from China has created more manufacture of US-made panels. China had 80 percent of the market before the tariff was imposed, he said.

CV-TEC Director Michele Friedman told students and staff she was very supportive of the new program.

“You’re making a significant impact on our community,” she said. “This is a pool of talent in our own back yard.”

The BOCES Board of Education also backs the students, Superintendent Dr. Mark Davey said.

“They (the board) are so proud of you,” he told students. “I’m proud of you. Our area (school) superintendents are also supportive.”

Shaw said it’s a great opportunity for students.

“It’s really super-exciting,” he said. “It’s inspirational for us.”

Meeting Notice

IDA Board Meeting;  Thursday, November 8, 2018 at 9:00 AM at IDA office, Elizabethtown, NY - Meeting Agenda