STC’s Electricity Technology Program Offers Advanced Resources in Solar Energy – Rio Grande Guardian

McALLEN, Texas – Knowledge is power for South Texas College electrical technology students, who are the first in the Valley to use the newly completed composite roof structure to simulate real-world residential solar panel installations.

Built last summer on STC’s Technology Campus, the simulated roof structure allows students to take advantage of a new solar grid system that provides the same experience of working on an actual solar roof installation on residential job sites.

The structure and equipment at the technology campus are exclusive to colleges in the Rio Grande Valley, according to program faculty members.

“As far as I know, STC is the only institution in the region that has a structure that allows students to simulate the installation of solar panels on the roof,” said José Villa, STC’s communications and accreditation officer. “All of the programs in the Department of Business, Public Safety and Technology (BPST) try to stay on the cutting edge. We want to make sure we have the most innovative technology being used in the field, even if it is not currently being used in the area, that way our students are prepared to enter the forces Working with the skills needed for the future.

Students enrolled in the Electrical Technology program’s Solar Fundamentals course in the fall of 2023 were the first to break into the new simulation deck.

“Our students are learning how to install a residential solar panel system, which converts solar energy into electrical energy through solar panels in an Enphase grid-type system. Basically, this means that these panels change solar energy into AC electricity, which is what we use in our homes,” said Christina Aguilar, STC’s electrical technology instructor and department head. “This is exactly how actual solar panels are installed on a rooftop on a residential job site, so the students are learning how to do it now, and they’re prepared when they go out into the field.”

The Solar Energy Technology course is one of many courses available through the program. Electrical Technology also includes courses in residential and commercial work, as well as training in the industrial and wind energy sectors.

“From solar, wind, industrial, residential, commercial to basic electricity, we have so many options for students, and then they can expand and decide exactly what they want to do with that knowledge,” Aguilar said. “A lot of students are really amazed when they get here and realize we have all these options for them.”

Michael Gonzalez, a student at STC, said he started at the college in 2021 with work experience as an electrical installer, but was amazed at how the faculty were able to expand his knowledge once he entered the program.

“I started doing installations for eight months in the field before I was brought on to the sales team at my last job, so I gained that experience,” Gonzalez said. “STC helped me get a better picture of what an electrician does as a whole, which helped me understand the job more and expand my knowledge.”

For more information about the Electrical Technology program at STC, visit

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