| from the Project Manager
Within the Walls
When I worked as an electrician, I knew that most people had little idea how much effort went into installing a light and switch in a home. They only saw the end product - the light and switch - and didn't always "value" the time and effort it took to install those devices. They rarely saw all my work accomplished within the walls.
As I talk with colleagues from across the country this time of year, a recurring theme is that old adage: "where did the year go?" It's a great reminder to me that people are very busy and that I need to be conscientious of what, and how I ask of their time, recognizing all they do that's not so visible.
As IREC's project manager for the Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN), I'm often leading discussions, seeking collaborative efforts throughout the network, making requests, helping to establish priorities, requesting information, and setting deadlines. While there are times I get to initiate these actions in-person, the vast majority of my efforts are accomplished virtually. I rarely get to see, in-person, the great work being accomplished by so many of my colleagues on the front lines, and the effort that goes into the results we see.
This past year, we heard the White House extolling the "value" of the Solar Instructor Training Network; praising the network for the 30,000+ individuals who received solar training through the SITN, and wanting the network to bring solar training to 50,000 individuals by 2020. Yes Mr. President, the SITN is poised and ready to reach that next goal. We're already working hard, investigating the best ways to accomplish that goal.
As we turn the page on 2014, it's a great time for all of us to recognize the value of the SITN. It's also a great time to be conscientious of the efforts of instructors who are educating and training students within the walls of their classrooms; the administrators and support staff who are doing behind-the-scenes work within their institutions; and all the great work our partners are accomplishing within the walls of their organizations. This includes the wonderful IREC Team that constantly goes to the mat for me every day! I look with great anticipation to 2015 knowing that, behind those walls, good things will continue to happen because of the Solar Instructor Training Network.
I hope you get a chance to relax and enjoy family and friends this upcoming week. I wish everyone a wonderful holiday season, and a very safe, healthy and Happy New Year! And I look forward to sharing with you all the wonderful plans we have in store for 2015! See you again on the other side!
from the RTPs...
By Gerald Bernstein/CA-HI RTP
California, and to a lesser extent Hawaii, have experienced first a rapid rise in demand for PV-trained faculty, followed by a slowdown, as industry has increased its own internal training of new hires (California) and major utility problems slow the growth of solar installations (Hawaii). One result of this shift is that the demand for basic, installer-skill courses has diminished, while demand has risen for specialty courses such as finance, sales and marketing and PV operations and maintenance (O&M). This shift in demand for subjects and courses has inspired Region 8, the California/Hawaii RTP of the Solar Instructor Training Network, to offer specialized faculty training to meet the evolving demand. More
Northeast | Kennebec Valley Community College
By Amy Hudnor, KVCC
Over the summer, solar instructor Mike Paradis, IREC Certified Master Trainer, and I were fortunate to be invited by Larry Reeger, SITN instructor trainee, to hold the hands-on course, Solar PV Design and Installation for its Building/Construction Programs at Sullivan County Community College in the Catskill Mountains of New York. SUNY Sullivan, as it is also know because of its inclusion in the State University of New York (SUNY) system, serves about 1,500 students and has a focus on sustainability that is evident in its curriculum, campus facilities, and on the banners that hang around campus saying 'SUNY Sullivan Our Future Is Green.' More
Southeast | Florida Solar Energy Center
By John Harrison/SSTN
Last month, the Southeast Solar Training Network (SSTN) and Southface Energy Institute in Atlanta, GA, hosted a two-day photovoltaic (PV) design and commissioning workshop at Southface Energy Institute. The workshop, led by well-known solar expert and trainer, Jim Dunlop, covered principles for design and commissioning utility-interactive solar PV systems specifically tailored to design professionals and instructors with working knowledge and experience with PV systems and electrical systems. More
Northern Mid-Atlantic | Pennsylvania State University
By Matt Fedorko/Pennsylvania State University
Earlier this fall, the Northern Mid-Atlantic RTP team hosted the Solar and Energy Storage Education Symposium, a unique event at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, which brought representatives from nine different colleges and universities together to talk about solar and energy storage education. The purpose was to get solar and energy storage instructors, faculty members and program administrators together to have focused, intensive discussions on topics important to them. More
Southern Mid-Atlantic Region/North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center
NC CETC's Renewable Energy Technologies Diploma Series is 10 Years Old!
The Renewable Energy Technology Diploma Series, the flagship training program of NC CETC, celebrated its 10th year anniversary in 2014. An IREC-accredited continuing education provider, the program provides theory and hands-on training from some of the industries' most qualified instructors. It also offers numerous professional certifications and pathways to certifications. NC CETC recently received an IREC 3iAward for Accredited Clean Energy Training Provider of the year at Solar Power International. More
Rocky Mountain Region | Salt Lake Community College, Solar Energy International, Utah Solar Energy Association
Solar Training in an Agricultural Program? You Bet!
By Judy Fisher/Rocky Mountain RTP
Ask most people about farms, and they'll likely tell you about tractors, crops and hardworking animals. But ask Dr. Ed Franklin, an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Education at the University of Arizona, and get ready to learn about farming's future in solar panels. More
Resources to Support Solar Instructors
Using nationally recognized subject matter experts, IREC has developed a suite of resources to support solar instructors, like Best Practices-The Series, a compendium of national curriculum models of solar training, education and workforce development curriculum in web-based and PDF versions More
To address the question, "where are the jobs?," IREC created the Solar Career Map, an online interactive tool that explores 36 occupations and accompanying career paths in the solar industry. The map is getting an update, with images and short video interviews with students, instructors and industry about career pathways and the skills needed to guide individuals seeking to enter the solar workforce. Watch for it in spring 2015. More
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 others who may benefit from this knowledge. More
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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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