Winter has officially arrived in Colorado. While there are just a few patches of snow throughout our PV training campus in Paonia, the mountains are already deep in snow. There’s a cautious optimism that the snowpack will continue throughout the winter, which in spring and summer, provides water for drinking, irrigation for local farms, and outdoor adventures.
We often get asked the question, “So what do you do in the winter? Does SEI just shut down?” December is our busiest planning month of the year. As an organization, we just finalized our Strategic Plan and our 2019 budget, to be approved by our Board of Directors in January. Our Curriculum team is busy developing new training, including the next iteration of PV-specific OSHA training; new multimode and microgrid curriculum; and translating our PV202: Advanced PV System Design and the NEC into Spanish! Our Program Hispano and Middle East and Africa teams are busily mapping out the many trainings we’ll be offering in these regions. Our Student Services and Marketing teams are brainstorming new ways to improve the student experience. Our Development team just wrapped up the annual end-of-year appeal. (Check your mailboxes!)
I’m so incredibly grateful for our board, staff, and instructors (we now number about 100!) who have made 2018 so successful. We’ve exceeded over 65,000 alumni who have taken training with us! We opened two international campuses (Oman and Costa Rica) to expand access to our training, launched the first PV-specific OSHA training (delivered for free to over 3000 of you), are helping to spread solar throughout rural Colorado through Solar Forward, launched a $2million capital campaign, and ensured that no person who wanted training was denied.
SEI’s success is a symptom of a much greater movement that’s happening across the world, and what is happening in Colorado demonstrates this. Colorado has been the epicenter of a pivotal shift in the energy industry. From a groundbreaking announcement of the state’s largest utility moving to zero carbon emissions by 2050 followed by a municipal utility making a similar pledge, to a rural electric cooperative in the West asking state regulators to weigh in on a fair exit fee from their coal-heavy electricity supplier, the powerful moves made this week toward a future powered by renewable energy have the potential to reverberate impact across the country and the world.
SEI’s vision is complexly simple. We envision a world powered by renewable energy. As an organization we realize that it doesn’t matter to us why people come to us for training. Whether it’s a career change, to start a business, to combat global warming, to be self-reliant or to be on the cusp of a new technology. Renewable energy is neither Republican or Democrat or Tea Party or Green Party, though it may be played as such. For us, the ultimate end goal is a world powered by renewable energy.
And to reach this vision, SEI’s mission is to provide industry-leading technical training in renewable energy to empower people, communities and businesses worldwide. To reach our vision, we have to have systems that are properly sold, designed, installed, and maintained to avoid repeating the lessons of previous decades. In this rapidly evolving industry, it’s our mission to provide people with the training that they need, no matter what size or type of system they specialize in. This training, as our alumni know first-hand, is empowering. Whether you become a more knowledgeable homeowner or start a new career, develop or grow a business, or work with a community in the developing world- SEI’s training is designed to serve you.
As this year quickly comes to a close, on behalf of all of us at Solar Energy International, we wish you a Happy 2019. May your year be sunny, your systems trouble-free, and your work fulfilling. Thank you for being an alumni and friend of SEI.
SEI’s online campus kicks off sessions for the new year on January 14!
For the beginner: Try PVOL101: Solar Training- Solar Electric Design and Installation- Online
Take your training to the next level: Try PVOL202: Solar Training- Advanced PV System Design and the NEC (Grid-Direct) – Online
Take a deep dive into National Electrical Code (NEC® 2017) standards as well as other best practices that pertain to designing grid-direct PV systems. The focus in PVOL202 is on residential and commercial-scale systems, but the Code requirements, design parameters, and best practices are applicable to all types and sizes of PV installations.
Colorado: The epicenter of a pivotal renewable energy shift
Colorado has been the epicenter of a pivotal shift in the energy industry this past week. From a groundbreaking announcement of the state’s largest utility moving to zero carbon emissions by 2050 followed by a municipal utility making a similar pledge, to a rural electric cooperative in the West asking state regulators to weigh in on a fair exit fee from their coal-heavy electricity supplier, the powerful moves made this week toward a future powered by renewable energy have the potential to reverberate impact across the country.
Last week, Delta Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) filed with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) “to exercise its statutory authority over Tri-State Generation & Transmission as a public utility and adjudicate a just, reasonable and nondiscriminatory exit charge.” Tri-State, which primarily supplies electricity from fossil fuels, limits all of its members to 5% renewable energy, while at the same time their electricity costs have increased by 56% since 2005.
If the PUC rules in DMEA’s favor, it could potentially cause an exodus of other electric co-ops to follow in DMEA’s footsteps, or force Tri-State to significantly raise the cap on renewables. Either way, this is a win for renewables.
SEI Announces Hands-On Solar Installation Classes in Oman!
Our Middle East and Africa program is ending the year on a sunny note after an outstanding completion to our first hands-on solar training in Oman!! Congratulations to our inaugural class who worked diligently to install, test and commission multiple PV systems over the course of Oman’s first ever PV201L: Solar Electric Lab Week!
The PV training facility has 18 kW of solar between the the four training systems on-site including a Ground Mounted System, two Ballast Mounted Systems and a Metal Roof Mounted System. This solar training facility is a first of its kind, not only for Oman, but also for the region. The facility would not have been possible without our local partners Shams Global Solutions (SGS) who we’ve worked with throughout the past year to make this SEI’s solar installation training a reality in the region.
The trainings are hosted at the German University of Technology in Oman and made possible through the support of BP Oman’s Social Investment Program.
Congratulations from SEI: Solar Access Team wins first place for innovative community solar business model
Solar Energy International wants to acknowledge and congratulate the Access Solar team for taking first place in the business model pitch competition, and second place in the business plan presentation competition, that represented the culmination of their work in Colorado State University’s Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise (GSSE) MBA program. The team is made up of four incredibly talented and driven women: Addison Arnold, Luciana Figliolo, Melody Redburn, and Aurora Sepp-Peterson. SEI was fortunate to be chosen by the team in April to act as an advisor in their development of a business model that aims to connect community solar project developers to customers.
Thank you to our new industry parter: Mission Solar!
We are proud to announce a new industry partnership with Mission Solar. Thank you Mission Solar for generously donating 15 kW worth of solar PV panels to SEI’s Paonia Campus! As new data suggests that solar installer will be the fastest growing job in America over the next decade, we’re excited to train the next generation of solar professionals with Mission Solar’s support.
Solar Energy International (SEI) will be offering a total of 6 solar energy workshops during Solar Power Mexico 2019. The free event will take place at the Citibanamex Center, Mexico City, Mexico from March,19-21.
Registrations will start in January, for the 3 paid workshops:
PV Installation Best Practices – Tuesday March 19, 9am – 12pm
Point of Interconnection – Wednesday March 20, 9am – 12pm
Ground Faults (GF) Troubleshooting and GF Protection Retrofit – Thursday March 21, 9am – 12pm
And don’t miss the free on-the-floor workshops that will be offered:
PV System Types and Components – Tuesday March 19, 1pm – 2pm
Site Analysis and the Solar Resource – Wednesday March 20, 1pm – 2:30pm
OCPDs and Disconnects: which, where, and why – Thursday March 21, 1pm – 2:30pm
Solar Power Mexico is organized by three of the leading trade show companies in the world: Deutsche Messe, SNEC PV Power Expo, and Solar Power International (SPI) have joined forces to help develop the Mexican solar energy market.