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2012 Reflections and Looking Forward to 2013 for Solar Energy International

Posted by: chris
December 20, 2012

I often receive the question…so what does SEI do when your lab classes wind down for the season in Paonia, Colorado? The answer is…plenty! Though the year is drawing towards a close, SEI does not. In fact, we are busier than ever. For our regular readers, I thought you may appreciate some highlights from the past two months.

  • Kuwait City, Kuwait: SEI’s Kris Sutton and Jay Peltz just finished teaching PV203: Solar Electric Design (Battery-Based), which included an installation, for 15 engineers in partnership with the Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research.
  • Arizona Public Service (APS): SEI instructors, Kelly Larson, Joe Villaci, and Jeff Spies led trainings as part of the utility’s Qualified Solar Installer Training program in Phoenix, AZ.
  • Benin, Africa: SEI instructor Brad Burkhartzmeyer taught PV203 to 6 new solar technicians in Benin, in partnership with Solar Electric Light Fund. The class installed off-grid systems on local schools as part of the training.
  • Pine Ridge Reservation: Jeff Tobe led a PV101: Solar Electric Design and Installation training on the Pine Ridge Reservation, in partnership with Oglala Lakota College; Lakota Solar Enterprises; Trees, Water and People; and the Department of Energy’s Solar Instructor Training Network. (See below for more on this.)
  • Hopi Reservation: SEI instructor Orion Thornton led a two-week training with SEI’s PV curriculum as part of a Red Feather Development project for Hopi tribal members interested in pursuing careers in the renewable energy sector. The project culminated with an installation.
  • PV Online Training: Over 200 people are currently taking one of several SEI online courses that end on December 16.
  • Inspector and AHJ Trainings: Brian Mehalic and Rebekah Hren taught over 110 Inspectors in Utah and Colorado as part of the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, in partnership with the local IAEI chapters, Salt Lake Community College, UtSEA, COSEIA, and Red Rocks Community College.
  • Solar In the Schools (SIS) Pilot Project: SIS Manager, Noah Davis, recently completed a pilot program at Sopris Elementary in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. This 3 week program incorporated renewables and efficiency into everyday lessons for grades K-5. More and more schools are seeing that renewables fit perfectly within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) objectives.

In looking ahead to 2013; personally I’m most excited about how SEI is actively addressing the needs of the utility-scale PV market and offering really high-level trainings to meet the needs of designers, integrators, and EPCs, as well as training for new and temporary workers. We will continue to set the bar for quality training, while responding to emerging industry trends.

We are also expanding our Outreach efforts. Our Alumni and Friends Association will help connect people together, whether folks are new to the industry or long-time solar advocates and veterans. We will continue to put the “I” in SEI—and expand the number of international countries where we are working. (Stay tuned because there’s a lot of exciting projects happening.)

2013 is going to be a great year for renewables, providing that world doesn’t end this week ;-) On behalf of all of us at Solar Energy International, may you each have an inspired 2013!


Kathy Swartz
Interim Executive Director

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