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The Sun Sets on October - What a Month of Solar PV Training!

Posted by: chris
October 31, 2013

Kathy Swartz, SEI Executive Director
(PS: I can’t help but share this group photo with SEI’s mascot—Huck the St. Bernard. He not only gets a lot of love from SEI students but enjoys cleaning up after potlucks)

October! Does anyone else feel that October just flew by?? October has been a wonderful (and very busy) month here at SEI.

We finished the last of our intensive, hands-on workshops at our training facility in Paonia, Colorado. This summer, we’ve had 18 workshops, people from over 30 countries and almost all 50 states. Another incredible summer, full of incredible people actively engaged in world-class training. For those of you who were here this summer, you know exactly what I’m talking about. From the first morning of introductions, to Friday’s graduation ceremony, shop talks at the brewery with your instructors, get-togethers with local food and after class adventures with your fellow participants—all on top of solar training.

One of my favorite photos from October was taken during our last PV201L: Solar Electric Lab Week (Grid-Direct). Paonia is an agricultural community and the ranchers were moving their sheep from the mountains down to the valley pastures for the winter. Thousands of sheep (plus sheep dogs) passed in front of SEI on their annual migration. It was quite a sight to see the sheep and all of our students in their hard hats taking pictures.

Greg Smith, a trainer at SMA, who participated in our PV201L and donated the new SunnyBoy 5000TL inverter with the power secure outlet. He especially enjoyed the local elk!

A week after our last lab week, 15 SEIers flew to Chicago for Solar Power International 2013. We had six pre-conference trainings, nine free tech trainings on the show floor, a large booth, and a party to celebrate surpassing 30,000 alumni! Plus Noah Davis, our Solar In the Schools Manager, raced around the RC Solar Rollers racecar around the expo floor.

We reconnected with many of our alumni—it was a wonderful combination of newbies to the industry and people who took classes in 1991. And then there was Garrett, an alum who began a successful solar business. At SPI, he gave SEI a generous check to for our classroom fund, and thanked SEI for giving him purpose. We think the world of him and the guys who work for him.

A special thanks to Raina Russo and Kendra Hubbard who organized a 50/50 fundraiser for our Heather Andrews Scholarship Fund at the Solar Tweet-Up at SPI. And a huge thank you to Guy Snow who won the drawing and donated his proceeds back to the scholarship. Heather was a friend and alum of SEI, an electrician and installer, and a passionate advocate. We established the scholarship in her name after her tragic passing as a way to encourage more women to get into the industry.

Kendra Hubbard, Kathy Swartz, and Raina Russo

October has also been busy with new curriculum development and partnerships. Not to be missed! SEI’s new Solar Heating Fundamentals online course that was developed by Vaughan Woodruff and Chuck Marken. A top-notch class taught by top-notch instructors! Plus, SEI is partnering with InterSolar India (see blog).

As this year winds to an end, there are still so many systems to install and commission, online classes to take, ideas to grow, and policies to change. However, I hope that in the mist of all of this, you each have a little time to hibernate!

Kathy Swartz
Executive Director

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