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Solar Training for Solar Professionals from Solar Energy International (SEI) Reaches New Enrollment Highs

Posted by: chris
August 2, 2013

Students seeking solar training through Solar Energy International's (SEI) Solar Professionals Certificate Program has reached an all time high.   The relatively new technical certificate program was launched a little over a year ago.  This program was created in response to a growing demand from employers and the industry as a whole by offering a training program format that went beyond certification test prep or "boot camp" short duration formats that had become pervasive in the solar industry.   To date there have been over 100 students graduate from SEI's Solar Professionals Certificate Program with hundreds more currently enrolled in the program.  

Christopher Turek, SEI's Director of Online Learning and Student Services, said, "What we were seeing in the solar industry over the last 5 years or so was a glut of 2 day to 1 week long solar training programs that were giving students a false sense of readiness to enter the highly technical profession of the solar PV industry."

"This short format is good for continuing education for professionals already in the career field, but not for individuals just getting into this industry.  Our industry is closely tied with the broader construction trades and the field of electrical work which requires a firm grasp on electrical and building codes, safety, and other highly technical topics."  

"We felt that the depth an breadth of SEI's training catalog offered a better format for technical training and workforce readiness.   By combining our individual workshops, in-person courses, online courses, and hands-on labs into professional training tracks aligned with careers in the solar industry, we found this new program was one of the most rigorous and exhaustive solar training programs in our industry."

Technical certificate training programs are not a certification or license, but rather proof that a graduate has completed a series of training courses, workshops, and hands-on labs to properly prepare them for the workforce.  Required hours of training for certification, NABCEP for example, can be earned through certificate training programs, but certification or llicensure is a separate process altogether.   

Turek said, "It is important for students and employers to understand the difference between these professional accolades.  All are important and depending on one's location in the country, there will be differing requirements to perform this technical line of work.   Regardless of certification or licensing requirements, there is always a need and focus on technical training and continuing education.   That is the niche SEI's Solar Professionals Certificate Program and Continuing Education offerings fill in our industry.  Professional development and education will always be part of the solar professional equation." 

Through the SEI Solar Professionals Certificate Program a student can pick a single certificate track or multiple tracks depending on their career goals.  Certificate program tracks include:

After 20 plus years of offering technical training in renewable energy technologies,  SEI has over 30,000 Alumni who have taken various levels and duration of training.  Many of SEI's past Alumni have taken a workshop or two, but many of them are returning to SEI's new Solar Professionals Certificate Program to complete the entire program of study.

Turek went on to say, "When many of our past students see that our training catalog has expanded in recent years by adding more advanced training and more hands-on lab experiences, they choose to apply their past prerequisite training towards completion of the full certificate program.   As long as a student has taken their prerequisite course work through SEI, PV101 for example, in the last few years, they can apply that training towards graduating from the program.   We need to make sure past training has been relatively recent as this is a highly dynamic and innovative technical career field where new technologies and methodologies are adopted from year to year."

SEI Solar Professionals Certificate Tracks, Course Progression, and Tuition

  • Residential and Commercial Photovoltaic Systems Certificate
    Required Courses (4) and Training Progression:  PV101 or PVOL101 > PV201L > PV202 or PVOL202> Plus one PV elective  (Either PVOL203 or PVOL206)
    Program Tuition:  $3,795 or $3,395 with tuition incentive
    This certificate path covers a comprehensive spectrum of grid-direct residential and commercial photovoltaic design and installation applications.  Applying the National Electric Code and job-site safety considerations will be strongly emphasized in this certificate program. The technical concepts needed as a solar professional, whether you're working on single family homes to commercial projects to utility scale systems, will be covered in this program.   
  • Battery-Based Photovoltaic Systems Certificate
    Required Courses (4) and Training Progression:  PV101 or PVOL101 > PVOL203 > PV201L > PV301L
    Program Tuition:  $4,495 or $4,095 with tuition incentive
    Even though the vast majority of solar photovoltaic applications are now grid-direct, there are homes and industries that need battery-based photovoltaic systems.  Through this certificate program you will be trained on the technical application of solar photovoltaic battery-based systems to serve many different areas such as the telecommunications industry, agricultural applications, off-grid homes and other remote applications, and grid-connected battery back-up systems.
  • Solar Business and Technical Sales Certificate
    Required Courses (3) and Training Progression:  PV101 or PVOL101> PV201L > PVOL206
    Program Tuition:  $2,995 or $2,695 with tuition incentive
    This certificate path is perfect for an individual who is seeking a sales or product representative position in the solar industry or is considering starting their own business.  A solid focus on the technical, economic, and financial aspects of the solar industry are covered in this program to prepare you for the fast paced and highly dynamic solar industry.  In addition to understanding all the financial incentives and sales techniques, being technically competent in the application and installation of photovoltaic systems will make you a better sales professional.  This certificate program will give you the confidence needed when talking with potential customers about this highly technical field.
  • International and Developing World Applications Certificate
    Required Courses (4) and Training Progression:  PV101 or PVOL101> PVOL203 > PV301L > RD101 (or any RD coded course or workshop)
    Program Tuition:  $3,595 or $3,195 with tuition incentive
    Not all solar professionals are on a roof in the United States installing photovoltaic systems.   Some of the most rewarding and meaningful work can be found in the developing world.  Solar professionals can be found working for government aid agencies and other non-profit organizations who are training local communities to become self sustaining.  This work is often accomplished through application of renewable energy technologies in some of the most remote areas of of the world.  This certificate program will take you through the common battery-based photovoltaic technologies and other developing world topics to prepare you for a rewarding career in helping the world realize the hope provided by renewable energy.

    * In-person destination International training can be used in lieu of RD101, but a tuition difference may apply.  Examples:  Nicaragua and Costa Rica training locations

  • Renewable Energy Applications Certificate
    Required Courses (3) and Training Progression:  PV101 or PVOL101> plus two elective courses in Wind, Solar Thermal, Micro-hydro or any RD coded workshop.
    Program Tuition:  $2,195 or $1,895 with tuition incentive
    This certificate program will expose you to other renewable energy technologies and is often a good "add-on" certificate path for a solar professional who has completed one of the other certificate programs.  When talking with home or business owners you may be asked your professional opinion about all the options in the renewable energy sector and which technology will best suit their energy needs and location.  In order to explain these technologies with utmost confidence, it is best to get hands-on experience in other renewable energy technologies in addition to photovoltaic systems. 

    * In-person destination International training can be used in lieu of RD101, but a tuition difference may apply. 
    Examples:  Nicaragua and Costa Rica training locations

  • Solar Professionals Trainer of Trainers Certificate
    Required Courses (6) and Training Progression:  PV101 or PVOL101> PV201L > PV202 or PVOL202> PVOL203 > PV301L > PV206
    Program Tuition:  $5,995 or $5,395 with tuition incentive
    Hundreds of solar training programs are sprouting up all over, and gaining the knowledge of how to deliver a world class training program can be difficult and daunting.  With over 20 years of hands-on and classroom instruction, the SEI curriculum and overall program is the gold standard for solar training and we want to share that knowledge with you.   This certificate program will expose you to SEI's best classroom curriculum and lab training experience for you and your instructional staff to get first hand experience in what it takes to put on a full solar training program at your school or training organization.   

About Solar Energy International
Solar Energy International (SEI) was founded in 1991 as a nonprofit educational organization to help others to use renewable energy resources and sustainable building technologies through education and technical assistance.

Our vision is focused on helping create a more sustainable future for our planet and its inhabitants. Through our work, we see clear opportunities to influence people's thinking and behaviors towards energy efficiency and the use of natural, sustainable methods of energy production and utilization.

Solar Energy International is a 501(c)(3) Equal Opportunity Institution and Employer, and is not affiliated with any dealer, manufacturer, distributor, or any other renewable energy commercial enterprise.

Media contact for SEI is Christopher Turek, Director of Online and Student Services - chris(at)solarenergy(dot)org - 970-963-8855 x115 -


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