InstructorBill Hoffer has been working in the solar industry in the Pacific North-West for over 16 years. He is an SEI Alumini since 1994, a NABCEP Certified Solar PV Installer, and a Professional Mechanical Engineer in Washington State. His first job in solar industry with Applied Power Corporation was designing remote off-grid mountaintop cell sites, when 10kW were considered “big” systems. In 1995 he designed the 360kW (160 kW installed in 1996) off-grid system with generator backup at Dangling Rope Marina on Lake Powell, the largest National Park system in the US at that time. He has worked as a designer and installer of residential and commercial systems up to 500 kW. In addition he has designed and tested Balance of System components for Trace Engineering and Outback Power Systems, as well as an innovative solar module system for Silicon Energy. He currently runs his own consulting business, Sunergy Engineering Services PLLC, focused on commissioning utility scale and BIPV systems. He also lives in a strawbale home he designed and built himself and is an avid gardener and ski and dance instructor.
SEI InstructorBrad Burkhartzmeyer is an experienced solar system designer, installer, and Solar Energy International alumnus. He founded Sun's Eye Power Company--a solar energy and electrical contracting company--in 1993. Brad is a North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP)Certified Solar PV Installer who has spearheaded efforts to bring solar lighting to a women's college in India together with Rotary International. Brad has worked in Rwanda and solar systems for the Make it Right foundation in the lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. Brad has helped install renewable energy systems in the developing nations of Guatemala, Nicaragua, Rwanda, and India. He trains installers and teaches classes for community groups wishing to know more about solar possibilities for their own homes. Brad is vice president of the non-profit energy education group Northwest Solar Group in the Puget Sound region. he is co-chair of the Always On solar project that is seeking to establish vocational training for solar installers in developing nations.
PV Curriculum Developer and TrainerBrian Mehalic is a NABCEP-certified PV professional and IREC-certified PV instructor with over 12 years of experience designing, installing, servicing, and inspecting all types and sizes of PV systems. He began his career as Lead Installer and Project Manager at EV Solar Products in Arizona, where he was directly responsible for the design and installation of over 150 photovoltaic systems, ranging from residential off-grid to commercial grid-interactive. For the past several years he worked as Project Engineer for O2 Energies in North Carolina, advising the developer on system design, modeling performance, and performing quality assurance inspections on over 23 megawatts of ground-mounted PV. Currently he is a curriculum developer and instructor for Solar Energy International and North Carolina State University, a frequent contributor to SolarPro and Home Power magazines, and an independent consultant providing services ranging from system design and quality assurance inspections to commissioning, troubleshooting, and maintenance.
InstructorCarlos is a Costa Rican Electromechanical Engineer with experience in off-grid solar installations since 1997 and grid-tied installations since 2004. He does design, installation, and maintenance of solar systems. His other experiences includes performing due-dilligence on solar projects, specialized consultancy on CSP, teaching and more.
InstructorCarol Weis works as a solar electric instructor and consultant in the US and internationally - working on projects in countries such as Haiti, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Sudan, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, India, Fiji, Nepal, and Pakistan. She also works part-time developing solar training curriculum for organizations such as We Share Solar, OutBack Power, We Care Solar, Solar Electric Light Fund, and USAID. She is an IREC Certified Master PV Trainer TM, and is certified as a PV Installation Professional with the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, and she has worked as a licensed electrician and solar installer in Colorado. For sixteen years, Carol was a lead member of Solar Energy International’s Photovoltaic technical team creating a world class PV curriculum for a mainly U.S. market, and now brings that same rigor to help create solar training programs in other countries through the world. Carol advocates for women inclusion in the energy sector, and has led technical solar electric courses to all women classrooms since 1999.
SEI InstructorChris has a Masters of Science degree in Renewable Energy from Murdoch University. His interest in renewable energy was sparked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador and he continues to pursue solar energy as an enabling technology for sustainable, rural development. Chris has worked on the design, installation and training programs for solar projects in Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands and throughout the Americas. He is a NABCEP Certified Solar PV Installer who lives and installs solar in the ‘sunny’ Puget Sound region of Washington State.
David Del Vecchio
InstructorDavid Del Vecchio is a graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering. He entered the PV industry in 1998 in North Carolina designing, installing and managing off-grid installations. Since 2005, David has been the President of Solar Seed, Inc. performing design, 3rd party QA and inspections, commissioning, troubleshooting as well as in house training for residential, commercial and utility PV system operations and maintenance personnel. While Senior Engineer at Strata Solar, David was responsible for quality control from equipment specification, engineering drawings, construction through commissioning and O&M on over 250MW. David is a NABCEP Certified PV Installation Professional since 2005 and IREC Certified Master Trainer in PV since 2010. David is also the primary instructor since 2006 for PV courses at the North Carolina Solar Center at NC State University. David started teaching for Solar Energy International in 2008. David Del Vecchio, IREC Certified Master TrainerTM for PV Installation Professional. David Del Vecchio, IREC Certified Master TrainerTM for PV Installation Professional
InstructorJ.R. Whitley is a licensed electrician, in North Carolina, and a NABCEP certified PV installation professional. A graduate of Appalachian State University with a BS in Appropriate Technology, he has been working in the PV industry since 2006. J.R. has been teaching with Solar Energy International since 2011, and has taught courses for Appalachian State and Central Carolina Community College to name a few. His solar career began at Southern Energy Management (SEM) where he installed, designed, and managed PV projects of all scales. As the industry and the company grew his role transitioned to focus on Operations and Maintenance, Commissioning, and Quality Assurance, developing and managing these departments at SEM. In 2012 J.R. founded 690 Electric, which he currently owns a operates. 690 Electric works closely with project developers, owners, engineering firms, NRTL's, and insurance companies; providing a wide scope of services based on each clients specific needs.
InstructorJay Peltz has been working in the renewable energy field since 1993. He spent from 1994 to 2000 working as the head designer and head of technical support for AEE Solar. In 2000, Jay started his own business specializing in installing and consulting in off-grid solar, water pumping and micro hydro installations. He has lived off the grid for ten years on a 40 acre homestead with solar electric, solar thermal and micro hydro power. Although most of his work is in his local Northern California area, he has done installations in South and Central America, Asia, and many locations here in North America. Jay is an SEI graduate of 1993 and has been teaching with SEI since 1997, his first adventure working with a local Native American tribe. Since then he has taught both here in the US and internationally. When not working he relaxes by surfing and riding his motorcycle. Jay Peltz, IREC Certified Master TrainerTM for PV Installation Professional
InstructorThe pursuit of independence ultimately led Jay to the field of Renewables. Coming from a career as a mountain guide and educator, it only felt right to understand the world away from the grid. A workshop with SEI laid the foundation, and from there things just fell into place. Eventually, partnered with his wife Lena, they founded Nunatak Alternative Energy Solutions based in the Elk Mountains of Crested Butte, Colorado. Specializing in remote off-grid system installation and design, the mountain environment taught them many lessons in dealing with harsh environments. The challenge and creative problem solving involved in design and implementation of these systems has made a passion out of a career. Being a contract workshop instructor for SEI since 2006 has allowed Jay to dovetail his time as an educator with practical real-world experience. Time off is spent outside: hunting, skiing, running rivers, or just letting his daughter teach him a thing or two about the world.
InstructorJeff Nicholson has been involved in solar since 2012, when he helped build Sigora Solar, Virginia's largest solar integrator. Jeff is a NABCEP-Certified PV Installation Professional and Technical Sales professional. He's been involved in every aspect of the solar industry, from sales and marketing, to installation and system design, to management of a fast-growing installation company. He now helps Sigora develop special projects and works on state-level solar policy issues. Before embarking on the solarcoaster, Jeff worked as an engineering project manager, a home inspector, and a math teacher.
InstructorJeff Tobe is the PV project coordinator and an IREC Certified PV Instructor at SEI. Also a NABCEP Certified Solar PV Installer, Jeff has designed and led system installations in a variety of renewable energy technologies including grid-tie, grid-tie with battery backup, stand-alone, water pumping and micro-hydro. Jeff has also participated in projects bringing renewable energy to Native American communities. In addition to his PV project and instructor responsibilities, Jeff refurbishes abandoned and used bikes to make available for students and community members as alternative transportation around town in both Carbondale and Paonia. Jeff works in the Paonia office and most recently received his NABCEP Certified PV Technical Sales certificate. IREC Certified InstructorTM for PV Installation Professional
PV Curriculum Developer and TrainerJoe Villacci specializes in system design, installation methods, and performance verification of solar electric systems. He works as technical trainer and curriculum developer for Solar Energy International and is responsible in part for development of SEI's PV training facility. Joe also provides design review, commissioning, and troubleshooting services through his company, OnSight Solar Electric Services. He is an IREC Certified Master Trainer/PV and NABCEP certified PV installation professional. Joe spends most of his free time enjoying the outdoors and is an avid rock climber. Joe Villacci, IREC Certified Master TrainerTM for PV Installation Professional
SEI Instructor and Curriculum DeveloperKaro Fernández is a Mechanical Engineer from Universidad de Costa Rica, and has been working in the PV industry since 2009, starting as a PV project manager for Costa Rica´s Utility. Since then she has worked in regional PV market and industry development for Latin America, development of functioning business models for RE in developing countries, energy efficiency projects, PV project design, inspection and commissioning at residential and industrial levels. She currently also consults as a technical trainer for SEI, as well as in curriculum development and translations for the SEI´s Spanish Program. Karo is based out of Madrid, Spain, and consults for companies in Central and North America.
Kienan Maxfield has been working in solar design, troubleshooting, and installation since he was 18. He began to focus on the off-grid sector in 2011 and ever since, he has lived in an off-grid lodge in the middle of nowhere, powered by solar and wind. All of his water comes from a solar direct well which is gravity fed to his home. He has held the NABCEP PV Installation Professional Certificate since 2014. Kienan has a love for math, troubleshooting/diagnostics, tools, design, and anything that’s technical. Based out of Utah, he runs his own business “Maxfield Solar” which offers design, installation, and all other services for solar, wind, and hydro; but he finds himself diagnosing and servicing remote off-grid systems more than anything else.
Director of Business Development-Mid East & AfricaKris Sutton has worked full-time in the PV industry since 1999. Kris was a NABCEP Certified Solar PV Installer. He regularly teaches technical trainings on the design, installation of photovoltaic systems--both commercial and residential, with a heavy emphasis on safety. He has been employed as an installer, project manager, and owned his own solar consulting business working with utilities, architects, engineers, general contractors, building departments, and homeowners through all phases of the PV design and installation process. Kris serves as Solar Energy International’s Instructor-Trainer and helps develop curriculum. NABCEP Certified Solar PV Installer
InstructorGrowing up in Alaska, Kyle developed a unique appreciation for our sun that fuels his ambition to harness the perpetual energy source. After installing hundreds of solar energy systems under the scrutiny of Oregon regulations he began traveling far and wide to spread his lessons learned. As an instructor with SEI since 2005 Kyle has worked in more than half of the states in the USA and has experience in several international locations including North America, Central America, Europe and Africa. Kyle’s passion for the sun has spread to a variety of individuals who now comprise the integrity and passion he holds for a truly sustainable future. Kyle has worked with over a dozen companies internally as an employee and as a consultant as well as virtually hundreds of jurisdictions with unique requirements. His career experience spans from mobile solar systems, remote industrial applications, copious grid tie solar applications and small to medium scale micro-grids. This diversity has allowed him to become well versed in the variety of demands and constraints the industry has with technological and regulatory changes. With a mixture of student inquisitions from across the world, government regulatory consulting and hundreds of quality control inspections, Kyle brings a vast amount of real time industry expertise to his work while maintaining an open mind for the journey ahead.
PV Electrical DesignerKyra brings extensive experience in PV project planning and design including full project plan-sets, project site analysis, production analysis utilizing PV SYST, layout design, system design, interconnection feasibility, and drafting support. B.A., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
InstructorLaura Conchelos is a Canadian transplant who found her way to SEI through New Hampshire, Antarctica and New Mexico. Needing a break from doing construction for the United States Antarctic Program and being interested in renewable energy, a coworker introduced her to SEI. Since taking their classes, she has worked as an installer for a large solar company in Santa Fe, New Mexico and recently moved to the San Luis Valley of Colorado where she enjoys the fishing, hiking and skiing. She also loves installing grid-tied and off grid systems with SGS Renewables in Monte Vista, Colorado! Laura is a NABCEP certified PV installer.
PV Curriculum Developer and Trainer
Laura Walters has been a member of SEI's PV Technical Team since 2006, updating SEI's internationally recognized PV training program curriculum. From creating the technical diagrams, to working on SEI's PV textbook series, and helping develop the exercises, quizzes and powerpoint presentations, she is busy ensuring SEI's materials are held to a high standard. She has a degree in Environmental Science with a focus on renewable energy and climate change from Dickinson College. She started the college's sustainability program, which is now being emulated across the country, by writing sustainability into Dickinson's strategic plan. In addition to curriculum work, she has taught Native American trainings, Solar In the Schools installations, and PV Lab Week an online PV courses. Her passion lies in international off-grid solar work, and she has recently completed trainings in Uganda and Mexico. In her free time she loves exploring new areas- locally and abroad!
Laura Walters, IREC Certified InstructorTM for PV Installation Professional