Summer 2013
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from the Project Manager 
Joe Sarubbi


Technology certainly increases our connectivity to each other, and allows us to conduct business in a more efficient way. People easily communicate from anywhere in the world using email, webinars, Go-to-meetings, etc. And social media is broadening our connections in a more informal way.


As national administrator of the Solar Instructor Training Network, IREC has utilized all of these mediums to help build a solid "network" with the Regional Training Providers (RTPs) who are located all across the country. Similarly, the RTPs are using the same technology to build a network of instructors and institutions within their respective regions. In each case, the vast majority of people involved in the creation of the SITN never knew each other.


Yes, technology has been wonderful for growing the "network" and helping to build solar workforce capacity throughout the country.  In fact, we wouldn't have had the success we've had without it!


Earlier in the summer, however, SITN had the opportunity to accomplish something that technology could not match - the ability to build long-term relationships. The SITN held its fourth annual in-person meeting over two and one-half days. Besides the very productive meetings held throughout the days, members of each RTP and IREC spent time together in the evenings. And I'm convinced that life-long connections are being forged as a result.


Why is that important? 


It's probably the single biggest factor that will allow the SITN to continue in some fashion beyond DOE funding in 2014. The RTPs say they feel a sense of "community" among the group that wasn't present before. These relationships will help ensure some form of sustainable activity beyond the grant, and the solar industry will be the beneficiary. Now that's a network!!


Inside this addition of the SITN quarterly, you learn more about the in-person meeting in May, and the great efforts coming from our three Working Groups: (1) PV Online Education and Training; (2) Solar Content Integration; and (3) Solar Career Map. Each Working Group is facilitated by an IREC subject matter expert with representatives from the RTPs participating. I'm truly looking forward to seeing the final products! Have a great summer and be safe!

Joe s esig  


PV Online Education and Training  
by Barbara Martin


Barbara Martin

How to be an Effective Online Instructor of Solar Content? Experience it; Don't Just Read About It

As a firm believer that examples teach better than explanations, this working group will try to incorporate multiple examples from as many varied solar online courses and modules as possible, representing as many different aspects of the field as they can. The online training will be developed using Moodle, an open source learning management system (LMS) popular with educators as a tool for creating web sites for their students.

Solar Content Integration

By Jerry Ventre

Jerry Ventre

Enrichment Courses Through Solar Content Integration 


This SITN working group is in the process of developing a new guide to enriching courses, curriculum and programs through solar content integration.  Given rapidly expanding solar markets in many locations around the country, the guide will help educators meet the concomitant demand for highly trained and well-educated solar tradespersons, technicians and professionals. Numerous examples of successes in developing new solar courses, improving curriculum and updating programs will be included in the IREC web-based guide.


An interesting aspect of the new guide will be the inclusion of case studies that describe the processes used, identify obstacles encountered and highlight keys to success in achieving solar content integration.  These case studies will be based on interviews with faculty and/or administrators who have successfully spearheaded and championed the integration of solar content into their courses, curriculum and programs.


All nine Regional Training Providers are represented on the working group. The guide should be available online by the summer of 2014, and should prove to be a nice complement to both the SITN Solar Career Map and the IREC best practices document on solar content integration.

Solar Career Map

by Sarah Wright

Sarah Wright

Update to the Solar Career Map in the Queue

The wildly popular SITN Solar Career Map - an online interactive tool that explores the many job opportunities available in the solar industry is getting an upgrade.  Over the two years since its launch, a wide variety of stakeholders in and outside of the RTPs have reported on the map's usefulness, and the National Administrator's Expert Advisory Team identified the update and improvement of the solar career lattice as a top priority.


As leader of the original solar career pathways working group, I now have the pleasure to chair the national working group which includes delegates from each Regional Training Partner. The working group is drawing on the collective expertise of SITN members to build a new and improved online career map.  The group has prioritized a long wish list for a more comprehensive and user-friendly tool. Improvements will kick off this fall with updated data for each of the map's 36 occupations, including at least one video from each of the Regional Training Providers.  Look for more info at Solar Power International (SPI) in October!

from the RTPs...
Northeast/Kennebec Valley Community College 
KVCC training 2013 Instructor Trainee Program in Full Swing at KVCC  

Earlier this Spring, KVCC invited instructors from community colleges, technical high schools, unions, apprenticeship programs and baccalaureate level programs to apply for its Instructor Trainee Program.  Twenty-six instructor trainees from 21 institutions from six states in the Northeast were accepted to the program. 





Mini Grants for Solar Education and Training in the CA/HI Partnership

The CA/HI RTP developed a series of four mini grant programs providing up to $15,000 per recipient depending on the program, to spur solar energy education and training at California's Community Colleges.  



Southern Mid-Atlantic


It's Non-Stop Solar PV Training for Code Officials, Teachers at NC Solar Center

"We've been on a steady roll of training since March when we offered our first code official training," said Maria O'Farrell, NCSC training program manager. "We're lining up speakers and curriculum for all of our 2013 Solar Instructor Series offerings, including seven 40-hour courses and several short course workshops, as well as future code official trainings in North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia." The response has been nothing short of enthusiastic.

of note...

After a lengthy application process and national public comment period, IREC attained accreditation by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as a developer of American national standards. "We undertook this arduous project because we feel it is a crucial step, not only for IREC and the credibility of our standards work, but for the energy efficiency and renewable energy industry at large," said Laure-Jeanne Davignon, director of IREC's credentialing program. 

Providing clear and accurate information to potential applicants upfront can be a simple and efficient way for municipalities to improve the completeness and accuracy of the permit applications they review. Municipalities across the country have begun creating permitting checklists and more comprehensive guidance documents to assist applicants. IREC created this two-page handout to introduce these documents to permitting staff and to provide some tips on how to draft effective versions for your own community.  
About IREC
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) is a non-profit organization that believes clean energy is critical to achieving a sustainable and economically strong future. To pave this clean energy path, IREC works to expand consumer access to clean energy; generates information and objective analysis grounded in best practices and standards; and leads programs to build a quality clean energy workforce, including a unique credentialing program for renewable energy and energy efficiency training providers and instructors. Since 1982, IREC's programs and policies have benefitted energy consumers, policymakers, utilities and the clean energy industry. As of July 2013, IREC is an accredited American National Standards Developer. 

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The latest chapter in the popular Solar Energy Education and Training Best Practices Series, PV Labs Best Practices is designed to assist faculty and administrators at colleges, universities and other technical training institutions who are interested in developing new photovoltaic (PV) laboratories or improving existing ones. Lead authors include well-respected solar educators and trainers Brian Hurd, Hands on Solar; Christopher LaForge, Great Northern Solar; and Dr. Jerry Ventre, former director, PV and Distributed Generation Division, Florida Solar Energy Center. 


"These documents give educators the right tools to develop and implement quality training programs and prepare students with indispensable skills to enter the solar workforce," said Joe Sarubbi, SITN program manager.


A public comment period for IREC's revised credentialing standard, Draft IREC Standard 01024: 2013 - General Requirements for the Certification of Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Distributed Renewable Energy Generation Instructors and Master Trainers, is a result of IREC revising Standard 01022, currently used for assessment of both training organizations and instructors. Once final, there will be two new standards: one for training (Draft Standard 01023 - released for public comment on July 8) and one for instructors (Draft Standard 01024). 

This public comment period for the draft standard for trainers will close August 20, 2013.  The standard for training providers will close August 6, 2013. Comment on draft standard for trainers.

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The message is simple. As the RE/EE industry grows, so does the demand for quality training. Quality training programs that meet the highest standards and result in marketable, job-related skills stand out from the rest. The IREC Credentialing Program offers that distinction. More
Read IREC's Newsletters

The IREC Report
Connecting to the Grid
Small Wind News
The Credentialing Chronicle
The SITN Quarterly


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9/16-20 | Renewable Energy Generation with Photovoltaic Systems Training

Southern Mid-Atlantic RTP


Raleigh,  NC 


Chicago, IL


30-minute sessions at SPI. 
Chicago, IL


10/22 |  IREC 3iAwards
SolarCentral Booth
Solar Power International
Chicago, IL


Southern Mid-Atlantic RTP

Raleigh,  NC 

Visit IREC's online calendar for more events.
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The Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) does not assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product or process that is referred to or linked to in this newsletter. Reference to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply IREC's endorsement or recommendation.