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PV Lab Facility and Educational Center

Solar Energy International (SEI) has a rich tradition instilled in community. Over the past 20 years more than 16,000 people from all 50 states and 66 countries have attended SEI’s renewable energy courses. Six years ago SEI expanded operations to include a 7-acre parcel of land amongst the diverse agricultural community in Paonia, CO. This expansion serves as a foundation to SEI’s long-range goal of creating a renewable energy and sustainable living educational center which provides a diverse and enriching forum for participants to engage and learn in. Looking ahead to the next 20 years the future looks bright for SEI and renewable energy as the organization moves forward with a vision and a design ethic that is intrinsic to the future of ecological systems and the biodiversity of our region and the planet. The SEI campus is grounded in nature and contemplative practice, and is dedicated to promoting ecological competence, and nurturing cooperation and creative dialogue among diverse people.

The SEI educational center is equipped to provide hands-on experiential learning and showcase the potential for renewable energy technologies, especially photovoltaics. SEI’s educational center offers students an unparalleled opportunity to practice what they’ve learned in the classroom. Over the past six years SEI has hosted many ‘hands-on’ workshops, from Photovoltaics to Wind Power, Micro-hydro power, and Natural Building. The core learning activity is around SEI’s state of the art Photovoltaic (PV) training facility. As part of SEI’s commitment to deliver code compliant, safety oriented, cutting edge curriculum and training opportunities to participants, SEI has continued to advance the hands-on training capabilities in PV. The PV training program explores the various system types (grid-direct, grid-tied with battery back-up, and stand- alone) and mounting techniques (roof mount, pole mount, and ground mount) common in the PV industry. Participants in SEI’s PV workshops work with instructors who have extensive field experience and are passionate about teaching, offering an unparalleled combination of hands-on knowledge and technical expertise. From detailed solar site analysis to system design and installation, SEI participants can experience many aspects of PV systems.

The members of the SEI staff enter their work with much excitement and ambition in moving the organization towards the vision of a world-class education center. On the horizon SEI holds many exciting opportunities including the design and development of a trend setting classroom building. This building will symbolize the core center of SEI activities and learning. The classroom will speak to SEI’s goals and ethics with a focus designed to impact the earth as gently as possible and to teach participants about the connections to the larger community of life. Demonstrations of renewable energy technologies and sustainable regenerative design principles will be cornerstones of a beautiful, stunning and smart building.

The Solar Energy International Education Center is a chance to expand upon the amazing SEI culture, community, and create a place that shares a renewed land ethic, a relationship that inspires and transcends the current paradigm and teaches people the essence of living a renewable and sustainable life. For more information about the future of SEI’s Eco-Campus contact Matthew Harris at             970-527-7657      


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