'It's awesome:' High school senior gets a job, and helps design his school's solar panel project

MILWAUKEE -- Going solar was always in the cards for Escuela Verde, a school in Milwaukee, but one thing stood in the way.

The school is focused on sustainability and project-based learning, but to go solar, you have to have money and a vision. With a student's help, the project began to come to life.

Escuela Verde solar panel project

Daniel Rodriguez

Daniel Rodriguez is a high school senior who isn't afraid to ask for help. He's one of 115 students who make up the entire student body at Escuela Verde. The school opened in 2012 and has 80-85% Hispanic students according to school leaders.

Joey Zocher

"Our vision and mission is really to create a more sustainable community," said Joey Zocher, an advisor at the school. "We focus a lot on social justice issues and environmental issues and how the two overlap."

When the public charter school finally got the money to make the solar project happen, Rodriguez wanted to help design the 60-panel solar installation on the school's roof.

"I'm barely a senior at Escuela Verde. Just turned 18, and getting all these opportunities that I wasn't expecting," said Rodriguez.

Daniel Rodriguez

Every student is required to do a senior thesis project, and this project was part of his dream. He was originally working on a smaller scale solar-project outside the school, before the roof project became an option.

"It was a long shot to get to do all this before graduating high school," said Rodriguez.

Current Electric

Daniel Rodriguez

Escuela Verde solar panel project

During his time at Escuela Verde, Rodriguez developed an interest in sustainable architecture. He received a scholarship to attend a solar installation course and met several individuals in the professional solar community.

Current Electric took note of his talent and had one more surprise for him. The company hired him, and he helped complete the project at his school from beginning to end.

"Just getting the view of Miller Park, and this is Milwaukee and we're trying to go towards a more sustainable way of living. It's awesome," said Rodriguez.

Escuela Verde solar panel project

Escuela Verde

Students will be able to track the energy the solar panels will bring in. It's not totally off the grid, but school leaders said with these students around, anything is possible.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Escuela Verde.