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Paonia, CO

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39845 Mathews Lane
Paonia, CO 81428 United States
970-527-7657www.solarenergy.org

Short description


Solar Energy International’s industry-recognized Renewable Energy Lab Facility in Paonia, Colorado is located on the Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains along the North Fork of the Gunnison River and at the base of the 11,395 foot tall Mt. Lamborn. Our educational center offers students an unparalleled opportunity to practice what they’ve learned in the classroom in a beautiful location.

Staff consider our location a little piece of heaven, and the best kept secret in solar.

More Info About Paonia

Travel information

Paonia is located on the Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains, at 5,645 ft. in elevation. Along with Hotchkiss and Crawford, Paonia is one of the small towns that make up the North Fork Valley. The North Fork of the Gunnison River flows through Paonia and the valley. On both sides of the valley are higher mesas offering panoramic views of the West Elk Mountains, Ragged Mountains, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and San Juan Mountains.

Closest Airports

Grand Junction Regional Airport: 1.5 hours to Paonia

  • Airlines that fly into Grand Junction: United Express, US Airways, Allegiant Air, American, Delta and Alaska
  • Shuttle services available from Grand Junction to Paonia

Montrose Regional Airport: 45 minutes to Paonia

  • Airline that fly into Montrose: American, Allegiant Air, Delta and United Express
  • Shuttle services available from Montrose to Paonia

Eagle Vail Regional Airport: 2 hours to Paonia

  • Airlines that fly into Eagle/Vail: Air Canada, American Airlines, Delta and United from Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul and New York/JFK, Newark and Toronto. With non-stop service from 11 cities, connections from virtually anywhere in North America, Europe, Latin America and South America and is easy and convenient.
  • Shuttle services are NOT available from Eagle/Vail to Paonia. You will need to rent a car.

Denver International Airport: 5 hours to Paonia

  • Connecting flights from Denver to Grand Junction or Montrose are available.
  • Shuttle services are NOT available from Denver to Paonia. You will need to a rent a car or take a connecting flight.

Salt Lake City International Airport: 6 hours to Paonia

  • Connecting flights from Salt Lake City to Grand Junction or Montrose are available.
  • Shuttle services are NOT available from Salt Lake City to Paonia. You will need to rent a car or take a connecting flight.

Rental Cars

SEI receives a number of discounts on rental cars:

  • AVIS/BUDGET: Receive between 5% and up to 25% off all rental cars. Use the discount code/AWD number: X084745 when booking to save.
  • ENTERPRISE:  Receive 5% off all rentals outside Colorado and special prices within Colorado. Use the account code: L12A513 in the box “Optional: Coupon, Customer, or Corporate number”. Password is SOL

All rental cars required a major credit card (not a debit card) at time of rental. International students can rent cars, but must present their driver’s license from their home. A passport will not work, it must be a driver’s license.

SEI Ride Board

Use the Ride Board to connect with other students who may be coming in to the airport around the same time and share a shuttle. If you are willing to share a ride or need a ride to/from the airport to Paonia, please post on our ride share board.

You can access the ride share board through the Online Alumni & Career Center through the following steps:

  1. Visit SolarEnergyTraining.org
  2. Login with your username (your full email address or personalized username that you have created for an online course)
  3. The default password created for you is ‘solar’ (or your personalized password that you have created)
  4. Under the upper left side menu, My Courses, you will see the Online Alumni and Career Center listed. Just click that link and you are in!

Airport Shuttles

SEI’s has a FREE shuttle van between Grand Junction Airport and Paonia. The shuttle will pick up at the Grand Junction airport at 4:30pm on a Sunday before a class. If you wish to take advantage of this shuttle, you should book your flights accordingly. To sign up for this free shuttle, email Faye at faye@solarenergy.org with your flight number and cell phone and she will send you details. Note: this does NOT include a return shuttle. You’ll need to arrange your own return shuttle.

If you aren’t able to take advantage of this free shuttle and/or need to arrange a return shuttle, we have a list of local drivers who can pick you up from the Grand Junction or Montrose airports. Shuttles are generally $100. Please call 970-527-7657 x206 for a list.

Lodging recommendations

Paonia is a charming, small town nested at the base of Mt. Lamborn, surrounded by farms, orchards, ranches and vineyards. The nearest traffic light is 30-miles away, as is the nearest chain hotel. The up-shot of that is that their aren’t traffic jams (unless you’re caught in a cattle drive) and there are a lot of quaint, local lodging options available, including bed and breakfasts (B&B), farmhouses, motels, and camping options.

We encourage you to visit the Paonia Chamber of Commerce’s lodging list.

Several establishments offer local deals for SEI students. Mention that you are an SEI participant when booking:


The Bross Hotel Bed and Breakfast

The Bross Hotel Bed and Breakfast is an historic hotel in downtown Paonia, built in 1906. It was completely refurbished in the mid-90s and now features modern amenities, such as wireless internet. Breakfast is served in a spacious dining room. Each room is unique, with its own theme. Most rooms have a full bath. Proprietor Linda Lentz offers SEI students the fifth night for FREE.


Redwood Arms Motel and RV Park

Redwood Arms Motel and RV Park is a family-owned, long-time Paonia business. Located on Hwy. 133, it’s a quiet spot about a half mile from downtown Paonia. Redwood Arms will offer SEI students 10% off, 2 or more nights, at the motel or RV Park.  ​They offer smoking and non-smoking ​rooms, plus free wi-fi to

​their​ motel room guests. Other room amenities: microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker, and direct cable tv (over 100 channels).  The RV park opens May 1 and stays open until the end of November. It is a simple, family-run RV park housed behind the commercial building that sits just off Highway 133 in Paonia, Colorado. Daily rates: $30-40 plus tax, weekly rates: $185 – $250 plus tax, and pets: $10 per pet (maximum allowed 2). Rates are based on type of RV/Camper and number of individuals.  Anna Raith – Redwood Arms Motel General Manager 970-527-4148 Ext 130.


The Living Farm Inn

The Living Farm Inn is located directly above the Living Farm Café in an historic building on Paonia’s main street (Grand Ave). They offer five cozy rooms, three with private baths and two that share a large, pleasant bath across the hall. Each room has one queen bed. Breakfast is included in the price. The Gillespie family, who own both the Cafe and Inn, will offer SEI students 10% off all rooms. Please use this code when registering: 20SEI16. The Café offers farm-to-table food.

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Agape Farm and Retreat

SEI staff LOVES this place and highly recommends it.There is special SEI student rate of 20% off  when booking 5 days or more.  All rates include a buffet style deluxe breakfast Monday thru Friday and a Full breakfast on weekends.  There is complimentary coffee, tea and juice during the day. Guests can go anywhere on the property, and will discover private outside sitting areas around every corner. The main house overlooks mature flower gardens and 28 acres of clover and grass fields. There is a 3-acre pine forest, an award winning Pinot Gris vineyard, and an abundance of fruit trees, including goji berries. There is Wifi and plenty of parking. Agape is located on a mesa approximately 10 minutes west of SEI on a mesa.

Recreation

Gunnison River in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in ColoradoPaonia is at the foot of 11,400 ft. Mt. Lamborn and is the gateway to the West Elk Wilderness.

To the northeast is the Grand Mesa, the highest plateau in the world, with over 3,000 lakes. To the south are the deep canyons cut by the rivers coming out of the Rockies, including the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.  All of this means the opportunity for recreation:  hiking, biking, fishing, horse-back riding, white-water rafting, and hunting. Paonia has some of the best mountain bike trails in the state (….shhhh!). Staff is happy to point in the direction of your adventure.

The North Fork Valley is well-known for its fruit (pears, apricots, cherries, peaches, apples), grass-fed beef, vineyards and wineries, goats and goat cheese, and organic vegetables. Visit Black Bridge Winery and Delicious Orchards to pick your own produce and sample some of the valley’s award-winning wines. If you are a road biker, check out the Chamber’s website for a list of bike routes along our beautiful back roads to some of these farms and vineyards.

The Valley is a designated Creative Arts District by the state of Colorado. Scores of artists, authors, musicians, and craftsmen reside here. You can enjoy their work at our local art centers–the Creamery Arts Center in Hotchkiss or the Blue Sage Center in Paonia. Check out the local radio station, KVNF’s, events page for events happening while you are here.

For more info: Paonia Chamber of Commerce

Current local weather information

Map of the local restaurants, food trucks and shops

Upcoming Events

September 2016
Sep

PV201L: Solar Training – Solar Electric Lab Week (Grid-Direct)

September 26 - September 30 | Paonia, CO | Instructors: Jay Peltz, Justine Sanchez
In Progress
More Information 
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October 2016
PV101_main_image
Oct

PV203: Solar Training – PV System Fundamentals (Battery-Based)

October 10 - October 14 | Paonia, CO | Instructors: N/A
More Information 
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Oct

PV201L: Solar Training – Solar Electric Lab Week (Grid-Direct)

October 10 - October 14 | Paonia, CO | Instructors: N/A
More Information 
PV201L_main_image
Oct

PV301L: Solar Training – Solar Electric Lab Week (Battery-Based)

October 17 - October 21 | Paonia, CO | Instructors: Ken Gardner, Kyle Bolger
More Information 
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Oct

NAB-PV: NABCEP PV Associate Exam

October 21 - October 21 | Paonia, CO | Instructors: N/A
More Information 
NABCEP_ele
PVOL203_image3
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April 2017
PV101_main_image
Apr
PV201L_main_image
Apr
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May 2017
301L_image2
May

NAB-PV: NABCEP PV Associate Exam

May 05 - May 05 | Paonia, CO | Instructors: N/A
More Information 
NABCEP_ele
PV101_main_image
MH-00655
301L_image1
May

PV110: Solar Training – Solar Water Pumping

May 22 - May 24 | Paonia, CO | Instructors: N/A
More Information 
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June 2017
PV101_main_image
Jun
PV201L_main_image
Jun
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Jun

NAB-PV: NABCEP PV Associate Exam

June 30 - June 30 | Paonia, CO | Instructors: N/A
More Information 
NABCEP_ele
July 2017
PV101_main_image
Jul
PV201L_main_image
August 2017
Aug
301L_image2
Aug

NAB-PV: NABCEP PV Associate Exam

August 11 - August 11 | Paonia, CO | Instructors: N/A
More Information 
NABCEP_ele
PV351L_main_image
September 2017
Sep
PV101_main_image
Sep

PV203: Solar Training – PV System Fundamentals (Battery-Based)

September 25 - September 29 | Paonia, CO | Instructors: N/A
More Information 
301L_image1
October 2017
Oct

PV201L: Solar Training – Solar Electric Lab Week (Grid-Direct)

October 02 - October 06 | Paonia, CO | Instructors: N/A
More Information 
PV201L_main_image
Oct
301L_image2
Oct

NAB-PV: NABCEP PV Associate Exam

October 13 - October 13 | Paonia, CO | Instructors: N/A
More Information 
NABCEP_ele
PV101_main_image
301L_image1
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