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Solar Energy International: The Solar Training Magic Continues

Posted by: april
September 21, 2011

Solar Energy International Renewable Energy Education Program Team LeaderBy Kathy Swartz, Renewable Energy Training Director

In my previous solar training blog, I spoke about meeting this week's PV301L: Solar Electric Lab Week (Battery-Based) workshop participants and how the class feels like family.

I wrote about Steve who works at a leading PV installation company on the Front Range of Colorado. There's also Chris from Alaska who is working on remote telecommunications systems in Alaska. This is his fourth class with Solar Energy International and he's here so that he can apply what he's learning to his job.

Or there's David from Utah who works for the Bureau of Reclamation. In the winter as part of his job, they've been installing off-grid systems on the Navajo reservation and he's here to gain some more formal training experience. We've also met Jeffrey from Colorado who wants to incorporate PV into homes that he builds.

Then there's Aiden, who is unemployed and taking his third SEI class, with several more to go, so he can get a job in the industry. He's taking this class to expand his skill sets so that he can be more employable. Whoever hires him will be quite lucky as he's enthusiastic and a hard worker. There's Diana from Wyoming, a biologist by training who became a stay-at-home-mom. In pursuing her passion for renewable energy, she is taking this hands-on SE workshop and may just have a job upon her return with a local company expanding from thermal into electricity.

Solar Training We see a lot of battery training workshop participants who want to work in the developing world. Art from Pennsylvania gave us goose-bumps when he introduced himself. Art retired as an electrical engineer from a utility several years ago. He now sits on the technical advisory board of Engineers Without Borders and is here to expand his knowledge when approving projects. He took a class at a community college and came to SEI for more advanced training. Or there's Edwin who, after retiring from his job in DC, wants to bring renewable energy to Nigeria, his home country.

As I write, I see the class out my window. So engaged, hands dirty, and asking questions in their small groups of 5-6 students to one of our amazing instructors. The sky is so clear and the temperature so perfect, even with that thin layer of fresh snow in the not-to-distant mountains. I look forward to hearing students come into the office after class to pick up free renewable energy magazines or buy T-shirts or books. Their energy is contagious. This week is bittersweet because it's our last Paonia, Colorado, lab class of the year. We still have classes happening all across the country and online, however, we just don't have the opportunity to meet the participants like we do here in Paonia.

This class has me thinking about the participants who will be joining us next year and I have no doubt that they will continue to inspire. Though this is our last Paonia-based training of the year, April 2012 will be here before we know it. Come join us and see what the magic is all about.

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Interested in joining us for PV201L: Solar Electric Lab Week (Grid-Direct) or PV301L: Solar Electric Lab Week (Battery-Based) in 2012? Start taking your pre-reqs now. Solar Energy International offers PV101 all across the country (San Diego, CA; Boulder, CO; Guemes Island, WA; Austin, TX; and Tucson, AZ) as well as many online sessions during the fall and winter months. Interested in battery-training? Then you must take our PV101 (or equivalent) and PV203: Solar Electric Design and Installation (Grid-Direct) solar training. Train with the pros.

 

 

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