May 2014
SITN Banner
from the Project Manager 
Joe Sarubbi


Proud & Poised: SITN Transforming Training for Today's and Tomorrow's Solar Workforce


There can't be a much stronger seal of approval to a program's success than to hear support for its growth straight from the president. 


Listening to a live feed of President Obama's comments a few weeks ago on new clean energy initiatives, it was a proud moment for the SITN to hear of his support for additional investment in building a competent solar workforce.


The broadly distributed White House announcement said this: "To enable a skilled workforce to support the growth of solar deployment across America, the DOE's Solar Instructor Training Network will support training programs at community colleges across the country that will assist 50,000 workers to enter the solar industry by 2020. This builds upon SunShot's existing Solar Instructor Training Network of nearly 400 community colleges in 49 states that have trained over 22,000 people to join the solar industry since 2010."


Yes, we should all be very proud. And here's the rest of the story.


Thanks to the market-valued online learning programs developed by the Regional Training Providers (RTPs) of the SITN, solar education and training has had a transformational effect - individuals around the country are getting the right training and getting jobs, and the solar industry continues to expand with the confidence that the SITN is working hard to provide a qualified, readied workforce.


The flexible schedule of online learning, coupled with the speed in which people can complete their educational goals, allows for more rapid career changes or advancement. And this has greatly benefitted the solar industry.


Educational institutions and organizations across the country have provided solar education online to thousands of individuals seeking to gain an understanding of solar technology. In fact, the exponential growth of solar installations was possible in part to solar companies finding individuals with the necessary skill sets to support this growth.


How did educational institutions ratchet-up so quickly - with training that meets high standards and industry needs? They trained the trainers through the Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN).


The SITN has played a huge role over the last four years in providing the necessary skill sets to instructors seeking to develop their own solar programs, throughout the country. The nine Regional Training Providers (RTPs) of the SITN created exceptional solar online programs to support the learning of these instructor-trainees, which expedited the delivery of quality solar education and training at their respective institutions. A "hybrid learning" approach, in which online programs are followed by participation in hands-on training at RTP facilities, helped round out instructors' knowledge and understanding.


The fast-paced growth of the solar industry also created a need for code inspectors to quickly become knowledgeable in solar installations. To support the tens-of-thousands of code officials in over 16,000 jurisdictions throughout the country, IREC created for the SunShot Initiative photovoltaic online training for code officials (PVOT). A self-paced, self-directed online program, consisting of six, page-turner lessons and a game-based 3-D immersive capstone lesson that takes inspectors through a virtual inspection of a residential home, PVOT has helped thousands of code officials and authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) gain an understanding of residential solar installations.


As word continues to get out about PVOT, IREC is receiving more inquiries from stakeholders seeking to provide PVOT to large groups of inspectors in a particular region, and IREC is helping facilitate these efforts.


To further enhance the knowledge of code officials and AHJs, the Regional Training Providers, in conjunction with the International Association of Code Inspectors (IAEI), have been offering one-day code workshops throughout jurisdictions across the U.S.


So, yes, Mr. President, we've been busy. And we're ready for the next challenge!

Joe s esig  

from the RTPs...
At the recent SunShot Summit and Technology Forum, SITN's Region 8 (California and Hawaii) team arranged for students to demonstrate a PV installation on a mock roof. The SunShot Solar Summit drew more than 800 solar industry leaders in Anaheim on May 20 and 21. One participating student, Dawn Davis, found the Technology Forum fun and challenging. "I was amazed by the number of people that stopped by and asked questions about the installation process. I thought everyone in the PV industry was familiar with these procedures." More  

Northeast | Kennebec Valley Community College 
If you find yourself traveling the highways of the Northeast, don't be surprised if you see a brightly decorated silver van and trailer with logos and photographs advertising Kennebec Valley Community College's (KVCC) renewable energy training program. Earlier this Spring, Mike Paradis and Amy Hudnor began traveling the Northeast in KVCC's new mobile solar training lab. More

Northeast | Hudson Valley Community College 
SUNY Canton, a partner within the Northeast Region of the SITN, has become the first to become an IREC Accredited Training Provider for its solar thermal and PV programs. Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) is one of two northeast RTPs. More


Northern Mid-Atlantic | Pennsylvania State University
At the GridSTAR training facility at the Philadelphia Naval Yard, Delaware Tech/Terry campus students worked on a large mock roof to mount and install a ballasted photovoltaic system. The system avoids drilling into the roof by using racks with weights to mount the panels. They also used an IV-tracer to troubleshoot any problems that might occur when installing photovoltaic systems. More


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

Rocky Mountain RTP Trainee Recognized as Solar Champion by President Obama


Congratulations to Henry Red Cloud, a partnering instructor through the SITN, as he was awarded by President Obama as a Solar Champion on  April 17 at a White House ceremony. Henry is part of the Rocky Mountain Region and participated in training through Solar Energy International in 2012. More

of note...

SITN Webinars: PV Operations &Maintenance, Commissioning PV Systems

Two important issues, PV O&M and commissioning of PV systems, were the topics of two recent SITN webinars, presented by SEI's Rebekah Hren and Brian Mehalic. If you missed them, don't worry. We recorded and archived them for you:


Solar Career Map

The possible career routes within and across solar sectors for workers seeking advancement or new opportunities are many and varied. The Solar Career Map identifies 36 solar occupations in four sectors and includes occupational information, skills and competencies, education and training pathways. While not every job in the map is exclusively or even primarily a solar job, each one requires some training in solar-specific skills. And each one is in some way essential to building a robust, high-quality, solar industry. More


Find State-by-State Solar Licensing Information with IREC's Solar Licensing Database

  map of the USWith the explosive 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. 



by Jane Weissman
IREC President/CEO
May was a big month for solar and for the Solar Instructor Training Network. At a Wal-Mart in Mountain View, CA, President Obama recognized the work of the SITN. Since 2010, IREC

has been fortunate to serve as the national administrator for DOE's Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN).  This Network is built on visionary design and an effective implementation plan from DOE's Solar Office under the leadership of Minh Le and put into action by Chris Nichols and Rose Marie Holsing. Nine Regional Training Providers (RTP) make up the Network, covering all corners of our country. More

The search is on for candidates for the prestigious IREC 3iAwards for Innovation Ingenuity and Inspiration. 
For more than 20 years, IREC has recognized innovative people, projects and programs that promote and accelerate the sustainable growth of renewable energy. For the first time, the selection of IREC's awardees will be in the hands of the public, with open voting online July 14 to August 11Know someone or a program or project that's making a difference in the clean energy space? Apply online by 7/7.
The SITN Best Practices, a compendium of national best practices for instructors in solar training, education and workforce development, give educators the right tools to develop and implement quality-training programs and prepare students with indispensable skills to enter the solar workforce.  All seven Best Practices are web-based. Best Practices Chapters 1-6 are also available as PDFs. More 
PVOT house image

Developed as part of IREC's role as the National Administrator of the SITN, PV Online Training (PVOT) offers reliable field inspection practices and endorses efficient permit processes for residential PV installations in an online platform. Originally designed for code officials and 

authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) because of their critical link in the process of PV installation applications and the permitting process, PVOT is available to anyone. More
Read IREC's Newsletters

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


calendar icon


Custer, WI 
6/23-25 | PV America East
IREC @ Booth #631
Boston, MA
San Francisco, CA
Las Vegas, NV
10/21-23 | IREC 3iForum
Solar Power International
Las Vegas, NV
Visit IREC's online calendar for more events.
Like what you see here?  Have suggestions?  Comments? Ideas?  Let us hear from you
Get Social with IREC

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterFind us on PinterestFind us on Google+View our videos on YouTube
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.