August 2014
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from the Project Manager 
Joe Sarubbi



Not Just Another Brick in the Wall!


In the summer, I tend to listen to music more often than during the rest of the year. During my formative years, I was a fan of the rock group Pink Floyd, and yes, I still enjoy their music today. One of their more famous songs, "Another Brick in the Wall," was released in 1979, the same year I started teaching, so it has special meaning to me. I made a pact with myself that I would never be just another brick in the wall, and I'd like to think that over my 32-year teaching career, I've made a difference.


As project manager of the Solar Instructor Training Network for IREC, I recently finished the last of my yearly site visits to the nine Regional Training Providers.  Each time I walk away, I'm confident that the RTP is clearly making a difference building a highly qualified, well-trained solar workforce. Each year, I learn something new. And I'm always impressed with the passion and enthusiasm exhibited by the instructors and staff of the RTPs, who make sure the instructor trainees gain the requisite solar skill sets, information and resources to become the best possible solar instructors.


As National Administrator of the SITN, IREC continues to support these efforts by providing leadership and guidance of RTP initiatives, as well as offering additional resources to ensure success as instructor trainees set up their own solar programs.  I'm delighted to share that over the last four and one-half-years, this commitment to partnership has provided high-quality training to nearly 1,000 instructors across the country. Now THAT's making a difference!


Inside this summer edition of the SITN Quarterly, you'll get a chance to read about initiatives of the RTPs, instructor trainees and their respective institutions that are truly making a difference to ensure the solar industry has a highly skilled, quality workforce. When the president of the United States singles out the great efforts of the SITN (as he and a White House press release did a few months ago), it's another affirmation of this group making a difference.


To date, over 30,000 individuals have received training through the SITN, and we're still counting! As the summer comes to a close and the start of another school year approaches, I can say with absolute confidence that the faculty and staff of the SITN are NOT just another brick in the wall!


Enjoy the newsletter.  

Joe s esig  

from the RTPs...
Northeast | Kennebec Valley Community College 


Instructor Keven Vachon is embracing the meaning of experiential education at Mid-Maine Technical Center, a technical high school in Waterville, Maine. Using knowledge he gained from training at Kennebec Valley Community College, a northeast Regional Training Provider in the Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN), Mr. Vachon taught his electrical technology students about solar by having them install a PV system on the school's roof. More


Northeast | Hudson Valley Community College 

Earlier this summer, Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC), a northeast Regional Training Provider in the Solar Instructor Training Network, offered a three-day comprehensive course on the 2014 National Electric Code and fire safety issues for PV systems. 
Eight students from four states in the Northeast attended (Maine, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts). Michael Stangl, IREC certified Master Trainer and adjunct faculty with HVCC, taught the class. More


Northern Mid-Atlantic | Pennsylvania State University

The Penn State University Northern Mid-Atlantic Solar Education and Resource Center (NMASERC) just completed offering the Immersive Leadership Experience Internship program in conjunction with the GridSTAR Center at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The 12-week program included a solar PV design and construction course component led by Matt Fedorko of PSU and Kevin Wright of UMC Solar. More


Southern Mid-Atlantic | North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center

John Stolarczyck, the Sustainable Energy Coordinator and Instructor at the College of the Albemarle, hosted an interactive PV exhibit with 40 students and adults at Port Discover, a hands-on children's science museum. Using small grant funding from the NC Clean Energy Technology Center (formerly the NC Solar Center) to help community colleges establish or enhance solar curriculum, the college was able to equip the mobile PV training laboratory with tools to demonstrate solar power. More



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


SITN Schools Leverage National Science Foundation Grant for Additional Solar Training 

Madison Area Technical College (MATC) in Madison, Wisconsin, and Solar Energy International (SEI), recently held an Advanced Solar Electric Academy for community college and high school instructors from across the United States and Guam at SEI's training facility in Paonia, Colorado. The training was funded through MATC's National Science Foundation grant. Twenty-six instructors from seven high schools and 14 community colleges and universities participated. Eight of the 14 colleges are part of the Solar Instructor Training Network. More


Midwest Solar Training Network | Midwest Renewable Energy Association


Midwest Renewable Energy Fair Celebrates 25 Years! 


It was birthday 25 for the Midwest Annual Energy Fair. This year, over 13,000 attended more than 200 free workshops (including IREC's Joe Sarubbi and Sarah White, Ph.D.) Programs ranged from basic, intro-level workshops to hands-on education on topics covering everything from energy-efficient appliances, renewable energy technology, green building, and sustainable landscaping. More



South Central RTP | Houston Community College


SITN-Trained Graduates Now Working in the Solar Industry 


Students at St. Philip's Community College in San Antonio, Texas and a partnering organization with the South Central Regional Training Provider (SC RTP) at Houston Community College, are finding work in the local solar industry. A recent SITN trained graduate in St. Phillip's power generation and alternative energy AAS program was offered an internship with a well-known national company. More 


of note...

SITN Webinars

Mark your calendars for two upcoming webinars on timely issues relevant to the SITN. All webinars are free, 2-3pm EDT.

  • U.S. Solar Market Trends 2014. Join Solar Market Trends Report author and IREC Vice President Larry Sherwood and SITN for a stimulating hour on Thursday, September 18 for an in-depth look at PV installations in 2013, including growth trends by sector and state rankings for installations. Register 
  • Institute for Building Technology & Safety PV Quality Data
    Real-time trends in solar PV installation deficiencies is becoming an important aspect of the industry. In this webinar, Christopher Doyle and Rudolph Saporite, both with the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS), will discuss quality assurance data collected by IBTS national field inspection services.  On October 8, Doyle and Saporite will reveal real-time trends in solar PV installation deficiencies so trainers can emphasize these areas in future training.  The webinar will focus on the data analysis of approximately 2,000 nationwide, inspected systems in the past year.  Register

Solar Powering Michigan

Join the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, Midwest Solar Training Network Partnering Institution, Northwestern Michigan College and other great Michigan organizations September 12, Traverse City, MI, for the Solar Powering Michigan conference! For all conference information, registration links and info on MSTN and Northwestern Michigan College courses, visit the conference website.


Solar and Energy Storage Education Symposium  

Are you a college-level educator working with solar or energy storage topics? If so, don't miss a unique day-long forum for educators in these areas to share resources, best practices and experiences. The intensive, discussion-based forum will be held at the GridSTAR Center at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Building 101 (room TBA), 4747 S. Broad Ave, Philadelphia, PA on Friday, September 10, 10a-4p ET.  Register 


PV Online Training
PVOT Topic 1 introDeveloped 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 

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

BP fan image

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 
Read IREC's Newsletters

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


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2-3pm ET

GridSTAR, Philadelphia Navy Yard
10am-4pm ET

2-3pm ET 

Las Vegas, NV

10/21-23 | IREC 3iForum

Solar Power International

Las Vegas, NV

Solar Central Booth 
4pm PT
Las Vegas, NV
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.