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#1 – SEI Launches Solarize North Fork Valley
Buy Together. Save Together.


On May 1, Solar Energy International (SEI) will be launching the Solarize North Fork Valley program, a 3 month energy efficiency and solar educational campaign in the North Fork Valley (Paonia, Hotchkiss & Crawford) running from May 1, 2015 through July 31, 2015. Check out the details on our website: https://www.solarenergy.org/solarize-north-fork/

Solarize North Fork Valley is aimed at making grid-tied PV more accessible to residents and businesses. The goals of Solarize are to increase energy efficiency and solar awareness in our communities, lower the cost of solar electric (PV) systems for participating residents, and significantly ramp up adoption of PV throughout the North Fork Valley in a way that can be sustained beyond the time-frame of Solarize, creating long term employment in the industry.

For many residents, the most complicated aspect of going solar is knowing where to begin. Solarize is all about providing an easy starting point. During the three month enrollment period, residents of the North Fork Valley will be able to sign up for a free remote solar site assessment and quote for a grid-tied PV system from SEI. These “hot leads” will then be passed along to the pre-selected Solarize PV installer. Based on the number of contracts the installer is able to sign with Solarize customers, the per watt installed cost will be set for everyone who is participating in the program. The more contracts signed during the enrollment period, the lower the cost is for everyone as the selected installer is able to save money on customer acquisition costs. This tiered pricing structure will help bring down the cost of solar for everyone, and promote residents encouraging their neighbors to consider going solar too!

Read more about Solarize North Fork Valley…

#2 – SEI Graduates First U.S. Army Cohort of

Solar Ready Vets from Ft. Carson

Vets Graduation

Congratulations to the newest 23 graduates of the Solar Ready Vets program!  This most recent training event, led by SEI, was held at the Ft. Carson Army Base near Colorado Springs. These transitioning service members and vets participated in six intensive weeks of training and progressed from the basics of electricity, to the fundamentals of grid-tied PV design and installation. They learned not just how to install PV, but also the “why” behind what they were doing.


They learned concepts and gained skills in this rapidly evolving industry.   In addition to grid-tied applications, they learned about battery back-up and storage. The students earned their OSHA 10 hour construction card, took the NABCEP PV Associate Exam
, and practiced basic troubleshooting. Over 50% of the training involved included hands-on learning.

Read the full blog about Ft. Carson’s Solar Ready Vets…

#3 – SEI Expands Industry Leading Training for Battery-based Solar PV Systems

With over two decades of training and curriculum development for battery-based solar PV systems, Solar Energy International (SEI) is the recognized leader in the industry for preparing solar professionals for deploying reliable residential and commercial scale solar PV systems. SEI offers many different battery-based training offerings to choose from:

PV203 PREP: Battery-based PV

System Fundamentals – Online

View available sessions >>

The goal of this course is to provide a solid understanding of the fundamental concepts necessary to work with battery-based PV systems, including the purpose, applications, and design criteria for different types of charge controllers, batteries, and battery-based inverters.  Students will learn to perform application-based load analysis, how to configure battery banks to meet energy requirements, how to safely work with batteries, and how grounding terminology, disconnects and overcurrent protection apply to battery-based PV systems.

PV301L: Solar Electric Lab Week


View available sessions >>

This workshop offers five days of hands-on installation practice with battery-based systems at SEI’s world-class PV Lab training facility in Paonia, Colorado. Safely install, test, and commission battery-based PV systems in this solar training workshop. Lab stations are comprised of both stand-alone and grid-tied with battery back-up systems, and include both AC and DC coupled systems.

PVOL303: Advanced Battery-based PV System Design: Series I – Online

View available sessions >>

PV303 provides advanced design training for battery-based PV systems, with a focus on grid-connected and micro-grid systems. Students work through step-by-step design processes for grid-tied battery-based systems with a wide range of equipment specifications; learn best practices for reliable and safe system design and installation; and apply 2014 National Electrical Code (NEC) requirements to battery-based PV systems.

Courses include detailed system sizing calculations and exercises, and students will explore design considerations unique to grid-tied battery-based systems. In-depth design examples include both DC-coupled systems and AC-coupled systems. This Course is ideal for solar professionals planning to design and install grid-tied battery-based systems, and who have been working in the grid-direct market and need to learn more about battery-based systems in preparation for the NABCEP Solar PV Installer Certification Exam.

PVOL304: Advanced Battery-based PV System Design: Series II – Online

View available sessions >>

PV304 provides advanced design training on battery-based PV systems, with a focus on stand-alone (off-grid) systems.  Students work through step-by-step design processes and learn best practices specific to off-grid PV systems.

This design-based course includes detailed system sizing calculations, equipment  specifications, and metering choices for all types of stand-alone PV systems operating independently of the utility grid. Extremely detailed design examples range from small-scale systems – like DC lighting – to larger residential-scale systems utilizing battery-based inverters. Learn how to specify and integrate generators into PV systems, maintain battery banks, and design PV-powered water pumping systems. This course is ideal for solar professionals planning to design, install, and maintain off-grid battery-based PV systems of any variety and size.

#4 – Solar Energy International (SEI)

Alumni Highlight: Jill Hewinsalumni_jill

Jill Hewins, SEI Solar Professionals Certificate Program (SPCP) Solar Business and Technical Sales certificate student, is the newest member of the Sales Team for Technicians for Sustainability, based in Tucson, AZ. When she was hired three weeks ago, her employer, an SEI Alumnus, told her that number one reason they decided to interview and eventually hire her for the position was because of her commitment to her education.

Jill decided to enter the solar industry after a career in higher education and outdoor adventure travel. While she brings extensive experience in managing programs and sales, she had absolutely no experience with electricity. She didn’t let that intimidate her and advises others considering entering the industry to take the risk. Jill has completed PV101, PVOL206, and PV201L. Before PV201L, Jill did take part in observing some installations. But it wasn’t until she had the hands-on experience in the lab that she said the information really clicked. She still has more classes to take before she completes her certificate program and noted that there is a lot of information to take in. But she is already having her “ahhaaa” moments. She advises other students to “be patient—it will all sink in.”

Read the full blog…


#5 – 2015 Hands-on Lab Season Kicks Off

with 100% Full Sessions


We were at OVER 100% capacity in the first two hands-on lab sessions in April at our Paonia, Colorado training facility.  If early enrollment numbers are any indication, 2015 is going to be another great year for SEI’s mission and connecting students from all over the world with the technical knowledge needed for us to realize our shared vision of a world powered by renewable energy!  If you share this vision or want to become part of the SEI Alumni family – check out the full 2015 lab training schedule!

#6 – SEI LOVES Micro-hydro Applications!

Join Us May 11th for MH101:

Micro-Hydro Design & Installation


Registration Info >>

or call 970-527-7657 x1 to speak with

SEI Student Services

Training Details:

If the resource is there, micro-hydro can be one of the best renewable energy opportunities available. This workshop will cover design considerations as they apply to both low and high head micro-hydro systems. The focus will be on core concepts that may be applied to a wide range of hydro applications, including irrigation ditches that are commonly found throughout the Western U.S. Course instruction will include how to measure elevation differences and water flow rates. Several turbines will be installed and tested as part of the course participation.

#7 – SEI’s Paonia, Colorado Bookstore Gets

Point-of-Sale Upgrade and NEW SEI Gear!

smitty_gearCheck out our new iPad Point-of-Sale (POS) system (and Smitty sporting her favorite SEI Trucker Hat)!

Make sure to swing by our Paonia, Colorado bookstore to buy some SEI gear or visit our online shop. Our students are loving the new SEI logo gear and inventory is flying off the shelves!

Show your SEI pride with hats – t-shirts – Klean Kanteens – etc! Can’t make it to Paonia, Colorado this year?


Visit our online shop: https://www.solarenergy.org/shop/


#8 – Happy Birthday to SEI’s

Co-founder Johnny Weiss!


We all owe Johnny a huge thank you for launching this great organization so many years ago. Since our inception in 1991, over 40,000 people have gone through training programs all over the world. THANK YOU JOHNNY!

To celebrate Johnny and his amazing contribution to the solar industry, consider donating to the scholarship fund in Johnny’s honor.

Donate today: https://www.solarenergy.org/shop/donation/sei-charitable-program-donation/

More about the Johnny Weiss Scholarship Fund:

In 2013, SEI established the Johnny Weiss Scholarship Fund in honor of our Co-Founder, Johnny Weiss. In 2013, Johnny transitioned his role to an advising consultant and we wanted to honor him for his vision in co-founding SEI in 1991.

Because of Johnny’s vision, SEI has trained over 40,000 people and has had a significant impact on the renewable energy industry. This scholarship is for a person who demonstrates Johnny’s commitment to making the world a better place through service. A preference is given to Native Americans or people from the developing world. This scholarship is for a full tuition course.

#9 – Congratulations to our Earth Week SEI

Photo Contest Scholarship Winner!


Congratulations to our Earth Week SEI Photo Scholarship Contest winner – Jorge Loría from Grupo Electromecánica Solar in Costa Rica! Watch video highlight:  http://local.teletica.451.com/Noticias/85164-Heladeria-en-Caldera-funciona-con-energia-solar.note.aspx

Jorge describes the project: “When the owner of the ice cream contacted us he used gasoline generator to operated it. Spent $1200 per month on fuel purchase. We proposed to use solar energy to give a different concept to its ice cream and help reduce the carbon footprint. This ice cream shop is located in a tourist area visited by many Ticos and International Tourist during the year.

Jorge won a $795 SEI Online Campus Scholarship for his photo submission! Stay tuned for future scholarship contests!

#10 – SEI Online Campus Sessions Start on

Monday –  June 8th – Register today!

Starting June 8th, SEI’s Online Campus will be offering:
View the Full 2015 SEI Training Schedule

or call SEI Student Services at: (970) 527-7657 x1

#11 – SEI Welcomes Our Newest Team Member: Lilly Justman

Spanish Program Student Services Advisor

lillyBorn and raised in sunny Austin, Texas, Lilly feeds off sunshine and blue sky days. A primary decision maker for her leaving Texas to attend The University of Colorado in Boulder was the campus tour guide boasting 300+ days of sunny weather.

Finding herself in Paonia was a natural progression of events after college. Having spent summers as a child fishing and playing in the backwoods near Carbondale, her heart had a special place for the Western slope.

Her love of nature, sunshine, sustainability, the Spanish language, and helping people made her curious about SEI and how she could squeeze into the impressive and quickly growing organization. Lilly is excited to have the opportunity to speak Spanish every day and connect with hundreds of individuals from afar, while also globally spreading the knowledge of Solar Energy International and strengthening the force and spectrum of the Spanish program.

Thank you for supporting Solar Energy International
To all Solar Energy International supporters, SEI sends thanks!

Help create a sustainable future. Please forward this e-newsletter to your friends and colleagues.

Solar Energy International – 39845 Mathews Lane • Paonia, CO 81428


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