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.
Last month, the Southeast Solar Training Network (SSTN) and Southface Energy Institute in Atlanta, Georgia, hosted a two-day photovoltaic (PV) design and commissioning workshop at Southface Energy Institute led by well-known solar expert and trainer, Jim Dunlop.
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.
A shift in demand for solar subjects and courses for college faculty has inspired Region 8, the California/Hawaii RTP of the Solar Instructor Training Network, to offer specialized faculty training to meet the evolving demand.
Over the summer, solar instructor Mike Paradis 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 Building/Construction Programs at Sullivan County Community College in the Catskill Mountains of New York.
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.
Kankakee County, Illinois, population of 112,000 and home of Kankakee Community College (KCC), is Tim Wilhelm country. A physics major from Kent State, Wilhelm’s past 20 years at KCC include an adjunct professor, student and graduate, and since 2006, the impresario of its Electrical Technology Program (ETP) focused on building a highly-qualified, well-trained clean energy workforce in Central Illinois. For such a small, rural community college some 66 miles southwest of Chicago, KCC’s ETP is raising community awareness and building the pipeline for a clean energy economy by promoting quality educational standards for a clean energy workforce writ large.
When the number of solar residential permit applications jumped from “a few here and there” to 4,000 in one year, Los Angeles Chief of Green Building Osama Younan knew he had to do something to get more of the city’s residential building inspectors prepared with the right knowledge to meet that demand. That’s when he approached IREC and asked for help.
Todd is IREC’s field coordinator for NYSERDA’s Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Advanced Energy Technologies Workforce Development Program. He works primarily with NYSERDA’s 76 workforce development training providers, reviewing and reporting information to identify program needs and new training opportunities that will match skills with today’s and tomorrow’s clean energy jobs. He is also a 10-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps.
Two training organizations and two individual instructors in the clean energy industry have recently been awarded the prestigious IREC Credential.