How can solar instructors openly share best practices and engage in ongoing conversations aimed at making solar training and instruction the best it can be? Tim Wilhelm, professor and program coordinator Electrical Technology, Renewable Energy Program at Kankakee Community College (KCC), proposed the concept to the National Science Foundation, resulting in an NSF grant to develop the solar instructor of community practice.
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.
Minnesota and Illinois will become centers of solar training in the Midwest this spring! Through relationships built by the Midwest Solar Training Network (MSTN), the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) is partnering with Midwestern organizations to host two regional conferences: the Solar Powering Minnesota conference in St. Paul and the Solar Powering Illinois conference near Chicago.
Over 70 electrical inspectors and contractors gathered on October 17th at the Prairie Meadows Hotel near Des Moines to learn about inspecting solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Julie Brazeau, Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA), presented the six-hour training class developed by IREC and the International Electrical Inspector Association (IAEI).