Fall 2013
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from the Project Manager 
Joe Sarubbi


Innovate locally. Share Nationally: Training a Competitive Global Solar Workforce


Timing, as they say, is everything. In politics. In baseball. I'd also posit that talent and vision are close cousins. And in the case of the Solar Instructor Training Network, I'd add one more: favorable global economics.


The speed and magnitude of change in the global solar market has been spectacular if not daunting. Who knew, four years ago, that the industry would see year-after-year of exponential growth, fueling the demand and need for a highly-trained solar workforce?


The SITN has spent the past four years doing what it was designed to do: build a highly-skilled solar workforce across the U.S.  Established by the U.S. Department of Energy, the SITN, through nine Regional Training Providers (RTPs), is filling a critical need for accessible, high-quality, market-valued training programs in solar system design, installation, sales and inspection through train-the-trainer programs in neighborhoods and communities like yours.


Next to China, the U.S. is the most attractive solar market; making the timing of the SITN's work perfect. To keep pace with the intensity of growth, the RTPs know full well the importance of ensuring a well-trained workforce is in place to support this thriving U.S. market. Always sensitive to local and regional workforce needs, the RTPs innovate locally and share nationally. Instructor-trainees also know they're on the receiving end of highly-specialized solar training from some of the country's premiere solar training institutions.


The RTPs have developed local, accessible, blue ribbon quality training, delivered to almost 900 instructor trainees in nearly every state. Thousands have received solar education and training from instructors and programs established by SITN; and RTPs continue to engage new institutions in states that are seeing a sharp increase in solar installations. This training has, and will, keep them agile in a globally competitive marketplace.


In this hefty edition of the SITN Quarterly, you'll get a sense of the range of the creative solar education and training in motion by the RTPs. I remain in constant awe of their achievements, creativity and talents: smart, passionate people who immeasurably enhance the way I see the world. And since it's the time of year when we more readily count our blessings, I humbly count mine as a part of such a remarkable community.


Join me in celebrating the work of the RTPs, and may you have a safe and happy holiday season.

Joe s esig  


from the RTPs...
Northeast/Kennebec Valley Community College & Hudson Valley Community College 


Solar PV Workshops for Code Officials offered throughout New England


Kennebec  Valley Community College (KVCC) and Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) have teamed up to deliver workshops in each New England state for code officials who have the responsibility of permitting and inspecting solar PV systems. More


Northern Mid-Atlantic/Pennsylvania State University


Penn State Opens Smart Grid Experience Center at The Navy Yard in Philadelphia 


The newly opened GridSTAR Smart Grid Experience Center at The Navy Yard includes a smart grid modular home, a flexible indoor-outdoor training facility, electric vehicle charging stations, and a large battery that helps improve the operation of the electrical grid. Dr. David Riley, a faculty member in the Penn State Department of Architectural Engineering, leads the GridSTAR project. More



Southern Mid-Atlantic/ North Carolina Solar Center 


Southern Mid-Atlantic Community Colleges Converge at NC Solar Center for a Solar Collaborative Forum 


Southern Mid-Atlantic solar instructors gathered in North Carolina's capital for the College Collaborative Forum on Solar Program Development hosted by the North Carolina Solar Center. The camaraderie within the Solar Instructor Series was apparent. Fifteen instructors flew, drove, and carpooled to reunite with past participants and visit with old friends. Seven instructors joined the discussion online, allowing them to follow along and participate virtually. More 


Southeast/Florida Solar Energy Center



Fourteen Southeast Solar Training Network (SSTN) trainers from southeast regional community colleges and technical institutions attended Principles of PV Systems Design and Commissioning workshop recently. Trainers represented educational institutions in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee. Of special value to workshop attendees were two IREC resources for solar permitting. More


Midwest/Midwest Renewable Energy Association


Solar Inspector Training Comes to Iowa 


More than 70 electrical inspectors and contractors gathered on October 17th at the Prairie Meadows Hotel near Des Moines to learn about inspecting photovoltaic systems. Julie Brazeau, Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA), presented the six-hour training class developed by IREC and the International Electrical Inspector Association (IAEI). More


Rocky Mountain Region/Salt Lake Community College, Solar Energy International, Utah Solar Energy Association

Kansas may not be the first state you think of when it comes to solar training, but Derek Reilley, Renewable/Sustainable Energy Program Director at Colby Community College in Colby, Kansas, may make you think differently. Colby Community College is a partnering training organization working with Salt Lake Community College in the Rocky Mountain RTP. More



South-Central and California-Hawaii Regions Partner  to Provide Enhanced Public PV Education at Solar Decathlon 


The South-Central RTPs mobile solar trailer was on display at the 2013 Solar Decathlon. Members from the CA/HI RTP staffed the trailer and touted the benefits of PV systems to the public. More

of note...

Looking for State-by-State Solar Licensing Information? Use IREC's Solar Licensing Database

  map of the USWith the tremendous growth of the solar industry and the continuing development of licensing requirements for photovoltaic and solar installers, this valuable tool is designed for policy makers, stakeholders, practitioners, students, consumers and anyone looking for solar licensing information in the U.S. 



Municipalities across the country have begun creating permitting checklists and more comprehensive guidance documents to assist applicants. 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. 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.  

If you missed SPI this year and IREC's 3iForum, we've got you covered. You can view all the presentations, including Joe Sarubbi and Mary Lawrence's Better Trained Workers Affect Your Bottom Line: The Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN) at Work. 


2013 marks the 25th anniversary of the North Carolina Solar Center, the home of the Southern Mid-Atlantic RTP. To celebrate, the center hosted a panel discussion on disruptive challenges in the electric utility sector, and how these disruptions are likely to affect the utility business model. Panelists included Thad Culley, from Keyes, Fox & Wiedman, LLP. More

Multimedia Tutorials for PV Code Officials 

Last week, Sandia's Vipin Gupta and New Mexico State University's Gaby Cisneros and Corey Asbill shared their innovative work on training PV installers and inspectors using YouTube-style tutorials in an SITN webinar. If you missed it, or want to watch it again, you can  watch the replay.

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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

The SITN has developed a suite of indispensable tools to strengthen and support the successful growth of existing training programs. They're especially fundamental for trainers seeking to develop their own solar programs. 
Read IREC's Newsletters

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


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2-3:30pm ET
St. Petersburg, FL


3/29-4/1 | NAWB Forum
Washington, DC


3/31-4/2 | PTI Credentialing Conference
Denver, CO


San Diego, CA
Newport Beach, CA
Detroit, MI
4/30-5/1 | CERES Conference
Boston, MA
6/23-25 | PV America East
Boston, MA
Visit IREC's online calendar for more events.
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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. 

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.