Photovoltaics class seems bright idea

During the fall semester 2017, Westlake High School hosted the Applied Solar Technology class usually taught on the Moorpark College campus.

The dual enrollment class was open to both WHS and Moorpark College students.

Photovoltaics is the conversion of light into electricity using semiconducting materials that exhibit the photovoltaic effect, a phenomenon studied in physics, photochemistry and electrochemistry.

The curriculum was identical to the college curriculum and the course carried full academic credit. The class met at 7 a.m. four days a week.

Offering the course was an outgrowth of a series of meetings in spring 2017 that Peter Parrish, Moorpark College adjunct professor, had with Jennifer Boyd, AP Environmental Science instructor at WHS.

Parrish advised three students on a project that involved the design and implementation of a solar-powered cell phone charger deployed for students to use during lunch at the WHS quadrangle. The course was highlighted at the WHS Action Project presentations on May 16, 2017.

Planning of the course was supported by a VC Innovates grant from the California Career Pathways Trust, and administered by the Ventura County Board of Education.

“The solar industry continues to sustain 20 percent annual growth, and offers very competitive wages anywhere from $20 to $60,” said Parrish.

A highlight of the course was a series of presentations by each of the students as they profiled working professionals in the field of photovoltaics.

One of the students profiled Johan Alfsen, director of training of Quick Mount PV, an industry leader in code-compliant, watertight solar roof mounting systems.

In spring semester this year, Moorpark College will offer both the lecture and laboratory Applied Solar Technology classes on the college campus. Several students from the Westlake High School cohort are planning to take the hands-on laboratory at the college.

Registration is open. The lecture class began Wed., Jan. 10 and the laboratory class will start Sat., Jan. 13.

For more information, call Parrish at (323) 839-6108 or email or call the Moorpark College Sciences and Student Engagement Division at (805) 553-4133 or email