Make a Contribution Now to Support a World Powered by Renewable Energy
The new year foreshadows exciting developments, including building our first international solar PV training facility in Costa Rica! The Costa Rica facility will aim to make solar training more accessible to Latin Americans. With growth on the mind, we've set an ambitious goal to raise $25,000 between November 13 and December 31 to support start-up costs of the Costa Rica facility.
Thank you to all of our alumni, supporters, and friends who have made donations so far this year to support Costa Rica Development, Scholarship Funds, Solar in Schools, and Johnny Weiss's Outreach Initiatives. We're so grateful for your support!
On December 5, we will participate in Colorado Gives Day, an annual statewide movement that celebrates and increases philanthropy in Colorado through online giving. This year, Colorado Gives Day features a $1 million Incentive Fund. By helping us reach 10% of all donations given in Colorado through Colorado Gives Day, Solar Energy International will receive a portion of the fund, increasing the value of every dollar you donate. Schedule Your Donation TODAY!
Thank you for your support and shared vision of a world powered by renewable energy. Here's to #solarenergy4all!
The Season of Giving:
Donations Benefit SEI’s Scholarship Program
Around this time last year, Solar Energy International (SEI) alum, Brittany Heller, sat down and made a list of goals for the upcoming year, one of them being to further her solar education through solar PV training, specifically in battery-based technology.
Soon after Brittany met SEI Marketing and Communications Manager, Mary Marshall, and SEI Development Director, Marla Korpar, at a 200-kW installation in Norwood, Colorado with GRID Alternatives. Brittany was working as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the time with GRID, and Marla and Mary were VISTAs at SEI. After expressing her interest in SEI’s battery training, the SEI VISTAs encouraged Brittany to apply for the Heather Andrews Scholarship, and join them in Paonia that spring for SEI’s PV301L: Solar Electric Lab Week-Battery-Based.
“At that point I really wanted to take a class, and Marla and Mary really encouraged me to do it,” Brittany explained. “I was so stoked that SEI put a focus on women in solar, with women making up only 28% of the solar industry, it was amazing learning that they had that opportunity.”
In 2012, SEI established the Heather Andrews Scholarship Fund to support women’s solar training. Heather was a SEI alumna and solar champion who passed away Feb. 8, 2012 after complications from brain surgery. This scholarship supports female SEI students pursuing hands-on training at SEI’s Paonia PV Lab in Colorado. It also supports female SEI students with partial tuition scholarships for SEI online training.
Rural Renewable Energy Alliance and SEI Partner to Teach a Liberian Technician Training
In October 2017, Solar Energy International (SEI) taught a 2-week intensive battery-based class, partnering with Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) at their facility in northern Minnesota for technicians from Africa. This training was part of RREAL and the Northeast MN Synod Women of the ELCA’s Skip the Grid effort to bring solar electricity to hospitals in West Africa, and followed a large PV diesel hybrid installation at Phebe hospital in northern Liberia. Several of the hospital technicians were invited to attend this course, and were joined by students from Zambia and Nigeria. SEI hired me, co-founder of Remote Energy and former SEI staff member, to customize the curriculum for the students and to be the PV technical trainer for the class which was supported by Outback Power.
Classes are Filling Fast! Check Out the 2017 / 2018 Solar Training Schedule!
Winter is just around the corner here in the northern hemisphere and now is a good time to consider jumping into an online course to get on a path to SEI's Solar Professionals Certificate Program or even pre-register for in-person lab weeks next year as those sessions tend to fill up very quickly.
Take some time to look over our offerings for the coming year. Please feel free to reach out to our SEI Student Services team who can help you chart your course to meet your training and career goals.
Four SEI Instructors Team up to Form Nonprofit: Remote Energy
Solar Energy International (SEI) is excited to announce the formation of Remote Energy, a new 501(c)3 for-impact organization. Remote Energy was started by four SEI instructors: Carol Weis, Brad Burkhartzmeyer, Chris Brooks and Jason Lerner – with one of their board members being SEI’s former international director, Laurie Stone.
Recently SEI hired Remote Energy to teach and provide a customized, battery-based PV class for the Rural Renewable Alliance (RREAL) to train Liberian technicians as part of RREAL’s Skip the Grid program. Remote Energy used their extensive international experience and curriculum development skills to adapt SEI’s proven PV training curriculum to address the specific needs and market of the attendees. Remote Energy and SEI hope to continue this partnership to reach even more technician’s and trainers worldwide in 2018.
SEI Curriculum Development Team Updates PV203 Battery-Based Fundamentals Course to Reflect Fast-growing Energy Storage Market
As the solar market continues to thrive both in the U.S. and on a global scale, the spotlight has increasingly been on energy storage. Whether it’s the attention from Tesla’s promise to build the world’s largest lithium ion battery in Southern Australia that made industry and mainstream news headlines alike, or the recent conversation on how storage can impact the grid in the wake of natural disasters, there’s no denying that batteries have become a renewable energy hot topic.
At Solar Energy International (SEI), it is an ongoing priority to keep our solar energy training aligned with the trends of the ever-changing solar industry. This is why we are so excited to announce that after months of extensive research, technical brainstorming and collaboration, the SEI Curriculum Development Team is ready to reveal a comprehensive update to our PV203 Battery-Based Fundamentals course. The updates were made to reflect changes in available technologies and code requirements in the fast-growing energy storage market.
“SEI’s curriculum development team undertook the PV203 course update to ensure that our students are confident and well-educated on the latest technologies as they explore these new opportunities,” SEI’s Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Sarah Wilder, explained.
Help Support a Solar-powered
Radio Station in Tanzania
In 1997, Lukas Kariongi was an eager young Maasai from East Africa who traveled to Solar Energy International (SEI) for solar energy training. At SEI, he began his life-changing training to be a solar technician as a tuition-funded scholarship student.
When Lukas first began his SEI journey back when the campus was based in Carbondale, Colorado, he linked up with SEI co-founder, Johnny Weiss. Aligning with SEI’s mission of a world powered by renewable energy, Johnny works as a consultant on initiatives with NGOs in the developing world, as well as Native American Projects in the United States.
Now, for nearly 20 years, Lukas has been working to fulfill his goal of solarizing his home village of Terat, Tanzania. As district-wide progressive village leader, he recently started and is the managing director of Rural Community Support Organization (RUCOSUO), a community-based NGO focused on solar development.
Working with Johnny in Tanzania, Lukas’ solar accomplishments to date include: Starting a training school for Maasai youth that features hands-on practical solar training and computer skills, working with local entrepreneurs selling/installing pico solar and home PV systems, and Lukas and RUCOSUO are developing a plan to revitalize a dysfunctional generator powered mini-grid, to turn it into a model solar battery-based microgrid.
SEI Welcomes the Newest Future Solar Professionals to Our Non-profit Family
SEI is so excited to welcome two new little ones into our big solar family! SEI's Spanish Program Assistant, Paulina Dunham (left), has a new baby boy, Karlis, and SEI's Workshop Coordinator Jessica Finnigan (right) welcomes a a baby boy as well, Francis “Frankie” Brian Finnigan. Congratulations to Paulina and Jess, and welcome to to the world, little ones!
SEI Welcomes New Team Member:
Director of Curriuclum Development
Sarah Wilder is SEI's Director of Curriculum Development and Instruction. Sarah has been working in the solar energy industry since 2003, when she began her career as an entry-level solar thermal installer. Since that time, Sarah has filled many roles in the industry, from PV installer to project manager to co-owner of a solar installation company to training and technical support manager at a large PV module manufacturer.
She is a NABCEP-certified PV Installation Professional and a licensed Oregon Limited Renewable Technician. Sarah holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of Colorado and a Master of Environmental Management from Yale University. In her free time Sarah can be found in some beautiful outdoor space with her family, diligently working on house projects, or relaxing with a cold beer and some good folk music.
SEI Online Campus Student Makes a Big Impact in His Local Community – Kampala, Uganda
Estevan Figueroa, SEI Online Campus Student, shares our vision of a world powered by renewable energy and is making a positive impact in Kampala, Uganda!
The SEI Online Campus is an amazing resource for people all over the world to come together and take courses with our non-profit school. Quite often we get these awesome photos and stories from our online students who are turning their studies and coursework into a reality by integrating solar energy technologies within their own communities.
Recently SEI was invited to the Peterson Air Force Base Education Fair to provide information about the Colorado solar industry and SEI solar training to transitioning Airmen. For more information on using VA / GI Bill benefits for SEI's Solar Professionals Certificate Program – click here >> or contact SRC student outreach recruiter Kevin Sova at [email protected]"