Solar Energy International (SEI) is the industry leader in technical training for solar professionals all over the world. Enroll today and join over 45,000 students and alumni who share our vision of a world powered by renewable energy!
SEI has a strong community presence on social networks. Please consider joining these SEI groups:
Ensures our Success!
SEI depends on our donors to continue our educational programs.
Please join us! In 2016, we have ambitious and exciting plans to expand our Outreach Programs and reach more people than ever before. As always, we need your help to make this happen.
This month we had a full PV301L: Solar Electric Lab Week (Battery-Based) hands-on training! Our students included people from Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, Palmyra Atoll (a tiny atoll that’s run by the Nature Conservancy and is 1000 miles from HI) + 13 states, including Alaska.
Our training facility in Paonia, Colorado is honored and privleged to host so many people from so many places across the globe. Not only do our students get to experience the very best technical solar training when they come to our hands-on labs, but we also focus on giving them the cozy, small town, Western Colorado experience as well.
Even if it is only for a week or two, students get to live and feel what it is like to be in a small, rural community that is doing big things. Paonia, Colorado is a shining example of a community moving towards a more sustainable planet. Sustainable buidling and energy – organic farming and orchards – friendly people – it is all part of the SEI experience and we hope you all get to experience it first hand someday. Join us!
Since 1991, our non-profit educational organization has focused on promoting a diverse clean energy workforce. We believe this makes our industry stronger and our efforts promote a global community of people who share the vision of a world powered by renewable energy!
"In 2004, I received a scholarship specifically for women to participate in SEI’s PV Training. The training that I took launched my career in the solar industry, which I’m forever grateful for.
Since SEI’s founding in 1991, we’ve supported programs and scholarships to get more women into solar and encourage the diversification of the industry. As Executive Director of SEI, it’s my honor to continue to expand these opportunities." – Kathy Swartz, SEI Executive Director
From our Heather Andrew’s Scholarship for women to our Walt Ratterman Scholarship for people from the developing world to our Johnny Weiss Scholarship for Native Americans, to our General Scholarship fund, we strive to ensure that anyone who wants technical knowledge on how to design and install PV systems is able to take SEI’s training.
SEI Alumni Spotlight: Doug Sabetti
A Lifelong Fight for Solar
In 6th grade I learned that the sun provided enough energy in 1 hour to power the world for a year. That fact stuck with me. As a little kid, I remember thinking “why don’t we power everything with the sun?” As an adult, my interest in the solar energy field began when I purchased some land in a remote corner of Utah and needed to make electricity away from power lines. The first time I powered a light from the sun,with no connection to the grid, it seemed like magic; I was fascinated and instantly hooked.
Visiting a site and gathering key electrical and structural information is an important step in designing a code-compliant PV system. In this Continuing Education class, students will learn the basic information required to gather from a proposed site. Whether a small residential grid-direct system or a large commercial PV system, this class will identify key information and measurements to be recorded to be able to design and install a safe and high-producing PV system.
SEI Alumni Highlight: Patrick Bunton
A Story Bigger than Solar
For Patrick Bunton, the story was always bigger than solar, however photovoltaic technology has always been a constant. A Professor of Physics at William Jewell College, Patrick came to Solar Energy International as student instead of a teacher. He attended SEI’s PV 201Lsolar installer training, a week-long, hands-on lab class where students experience the installation and commissioning of multiple PV systems. However, his first contact with SEI was during a hands-on solar training course in Costa Rica: Renewable Energy for Developing Nations. He enrolled in the class with the belief that course would helpful to the Physics Department and his students.
And he was right. The Physics Department at William Jewell recently revamped their program to emphasize sustainable solutions like renewable energy. Patrick says the Physics Department “utilizes sustainability as a motivator and as a tool for physics education. You can teach an awful lot of physics using solar and wind power. We want our graduates to have world impact. We want to show them that their skills matter and that that can make a positive impact using their degree.” When prospective students are visiting campus, Patrick advises students interested in pursuing math and science degrees about the importance of energy and its role in international development issues when they think about their future careers. In fact, a recent student told him that she majored in physics because she wanted to change the world.
SEI's Solar Ready Colorado Reaches Milestone – Over 100 Students Enrolled!
Through Solar Ready Colorado, SEI is recruiting Colorado-based students from many employment sectors including coal mining and oil and gas development, electricians and construction trades, military veterans and other professionals.
This past month we reached a milestone with over 100 Coloradans enrolled in SEI courses sinced we launched this program a few months ago.Our goal is to train over 350 people by the end of June, 2017!
Solar Ready Colorado is a statewide effort through Solar Energy International (SEI) and industry partners to expand the activities of outreach, recruiting, and training to the rapidly growing Colorado solar industry and jobs market. Through industry partnerships and support from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, the program provides a dedicated outreach and recruitment effort as well as technical training through Solar Energy International’s (SEI) long running, non-profit 501(c)(3) technical training program to those interested in entering the Colorado solar industry.
SEI welcomes HellermannTyton as our newest Industry Supporter! Their donation of a HellmermannTyton printer and software helps SEI to improve the quality of our training center through better safety and technical PV system labeling in our lab facility. In addition, their donation of a large quantity of wire management system components will be utilized by the hundreds of students attending hands-on training at SEI annually.
“SEI is committed to providing students at all stages of their solar careers with industry-leading, hands-on technical training. Generous donations from industry partners of the most current, quality equipment and technology for our lab training facility make this possible.” Kathryn Swartz- Executive Director, SEI. Visit their site for more information >>
SEI Programa Hispano Alumni Spotlight:
Natalia Gómez came to Solar Energy International (SEI) to attend hands-on solar installer training as a part of SEI’s Programa Hispano. She travelled to SEI’s Paonia, Colorado training facility from Bogotá, Colombia to complete FV201L, a hands-on, lab-based course in grid-tied, residential photovoltaic systems taught entirely in Spanish.
She hopes to bring more renewable energy back to Colombia through her education at SEI. In her interviews she describes how the labs classes allowed her to learn and bond with her classmates in the Programa Hispano and allowed time to really engage with her instructors. Of her overall experience she says “When you get to Paonia and SEI, you really do feel part of a supportive family and that’s the most important thing.”
Attention Veterans! Use your VA Education Benefits with Solar Energy International (SEI)
Solar Energy International (SEI) is pleased to offer comprehensive Veterans Educational Funding and outreach programs for veterans and active duty military personnel. We proudly offer educational opportunities and benefits to military members, their families, and veterans who have honorably served.
SEI is now authorized to offer eligible veterans the ability to use their education benefits towards our in-person classroom and hands-on lab training through SEI’s Solar Professionals Certificate Program (SPCP).
This education funding approval is part of SEI’s broader expansion of their Active Duty Military and Veterans Outreach Program. As an organization, SEI believes in the opportunities that renewable energy can offer our country, such as energy independence and sustainable use of our country’s natural resources. With that in mind, we also honor those who have served our country and who are choosing to follow up their military service with a new kind of service; service in the renewable energy sector.