SITN Parner Spotlight: St. Croix Regional Technical Center

St. Croix Regional Technical Center building trades students respond to the Kennebec Valley Community College’s mobile solar unit. This demonstration will assist the students in perfecting their mini-mock rook and learning the basics of solar PV. (Submitted photo).

Because KVCC is in Central Maine and serves the Northeast region, our travels with the mobile solar lab typically start ‘southbound on the turnpike’ by hopping on I-95 and heading south. In November, however, the KVCC solar road show headed east, as far east as we could go without being stopped by Customs Officials to St. Croix Regional Technical Center in Calais, Maine. SCRTC gets its name from the St. Croix River which you can see from campus.

Students who attend come from Calais High School, Eastport H.S. and Woodland H.S. SCRTC Building Trades instructor Stan Sluzenski has worked with the solar instructor training network at KVCC for the past two years gaining skills in solar and ideas for how to incorporate it in his classes.

KVCC’s visit in November was a chance for Stan and Mike Paradis (KVCC Solar Instructor) to work together, team-teaching students and using solar equipment provided by KVCC’s mobile solar lab. Stan and his building trades students, who range from sophomores and seniors built their own mini-mock roof to use for solar and other roofing projects in the classroom. When the KVCC mobile solar lab arrived it was time for Mike and Stan to give the students lessons in the basics of solar PV and experience mounting their mini-mock roof. Many of the students were eager to know more about the electrical aspects of solar as well as mechanical ‘on the roof’ installation. Levi Staples, a sophomore, said he found solar PV interesting because of its simplicity and efficiency. He said, this is a fun skill that will help me later in life and a skill I can boast about.

As a bonus a building construction technology class from WCCC was able to attend a solar class in the afternoon with Stan and Mike. Close access to the community college is a boon for SCRTC and Stan regularly collaborates with Richard Ramsey, building construction instructor at WCCC. Mr. Sluzenski who won the 2014 Teacher of the year award from the organization Maine Career and Technical Education is always striving to keep his program current. In the coming year he plans on acquiring solar training equipment to make solar lessons a regular feature of his building trades program.


Quote from Sluzenski: “Solar PV is a wonderful edition to my building trades program. The new content is definitely cutting edge. It is helping me to stay current with the industry and best of all, my students are excited about the new skills they are learning.”