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How I spent my summer vacation with wind

Posted by: april
August 19, 2010

Kathy SwartzBy Kathy Swartz, Renewable Energy Education Program Team Leader

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to attend the Small Wind Conference: A Gathering of Installers, Manufacturers, Dealers and Distributors in Stevens Point, Wisc. More than 350 people, including Solar Energy International instructors Ian Woofenden, Mick Sagrillo and Roy Butler and lots of SEI alumni who stopped by our booth, attended this annual conference.

For those of you who've never had the opportunity to attend the Small Wind Conference, it's the best event I've ever been to. Wind people are spirited, to say the least! People who work in the small wind industry have tenacity that gets them through the ups and downs of incentives, through public misconceptions, through the rural nature of their work, and through technological "learning curves" and they do so while working on tall towers. One of the best examples of their "spiritedness" was their infamous panel discussions where manufactures are questioned by the audience (i.e. installers). I think all renewable energy industries would benefit from such openness!

This conference really highlighted for me how much is happening within the wind industry. There were victories for installers with Bergey and Xzeres announcing 10-year warranties. There were important advancements for the industry. SEI's Advisory Board member, Dr. Robert Wills, along with Robert Preus of Xzeres, were instrumental in writing the National Electric Code (NEC) 694-Small Wind Electric Systems. The 2011 NEC includes this new article which will increase safety and validate the small wind industry. For anyone who knows about wind, this is huge.

There were successes in the field of certification. Ezra Auerback, executive director of NABCEP, discussed the recently released Small Wind Installer Certification. This is NABCEP's first certification for installers of a non-solar technology. It will target practitioners who specify, install and maintain wind energy systems and equipment. The first test is being offered on Sept. 11. SEI's wind trainings count towards educational hours for this exam.

With so much happening within the wind industry, now is the perfect time to take one of SEI's upcoming workshops in Colorado (Sept. 27-Oct. 1) or take our Residential Wind Maintenance and Repair workshop in Guemes Island, Washington, from Oct. 18-23. If you're alumni, you receive 10% off these workshops!


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