May 6: PV Operations & Maintenance, 2-3p EDT
As PV installed capacity continues to grow, systems age, sizes increase, and lessons are learned, operations and maintenance (O&M) has become one of the fastest-growing segments of the PV industry. The reasons for O&M are many: preventative maintenance is much less expensive than reactive maintenance; it helps maximize system uptime and availability; it’s essential to maintain equipment warranties; and potential problems can be nipped in the bud. In this seminar, O&M strategies and common tools and procedures will be covered. The goal is ensuring peak productivity, predictable ROI, and PV system safety and longevity. Solar Energy International’s Rebekah Hren and Brian Mehalic were presenters for this informative seminar. Catch the replay
April 23: Commissioning PV Systems, 2-3p EDT
Proper design and installation of PV systems is important for efficient long-term reliability, proper system commissioning – regardless of system size – sets the stage. Commissioning encompasses the unique opportunity to verify the quality of the installation; test subsystems and “fire up” the system; verify performance; fix any issues that arise; and, of course, document the tests and results. New analytical tools for commissioning and performance verification allow fast access to information that previously had been very difficult to gather. Whether commissioning a system, locating intermittent ground faults, or looking for module failures, knowing the techniques and methodology to safely and effectively use these new tools requires training. Solar Energy International’s Rebekah Hren and Brian Mehalic, highly respected in this area, led this seminar. Watch the replay.
November 19: Multimedia Tutorials for PV Code Officials & Installers, 2:00-3:00 pm EST
If the US solar photovoltaic market is to grow routinely and cumulatively at 40% every year, there needs to be ever more rapid and effective ways to train prospective PV installers and code inspectors as well as keep existing PV installers and inspectors current on the latest PV product developments. This training needs to accommodate the near constant movement of PV inspectors and installers as well as utilize visual, auditory, and tactile learning techniques to ensure retention of the training content. To address this need, Sandia National Laboratories and New Mexico State University (NMSU) have been developing a series of short YouTube-style, multimedia training modules on specific, specialized topics that would be most useful to PV installers and inspectors alike. Available online, the training videos can be accessed on a variety of portable and mobile devices. This webinar introduced the training modules developed to date, provided more details on the rationale and production of this material, and included clips as examples of the online content. Vipin Gupta, physicist at Sandia National Laboratories, and Gabriela Cisneros, Research Engineer at New Mexico State University (NMSU), and Corey Asbill, NMSU, are the presenters. Watch the replay.
September 12: The IREC Credentialing Program: Everything You Need to Know (and more!)
IREC is the leading credentialing body for training provider accreditation and instructor certification in the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. Pat Fox and Laure-Jeanne Davignon of the IREC credentialing team talked about the IREC Credentialing Program; the process for organizations and trainers to apply. They discussed the two new IREC credentials that will be released 9/16/13. And they mentioned the new ANSI-IREC Accreditation Program, the first specialty accreditation focused on certificate programs offering safe, high quality training for the renewable energy and energy efficiency industry. Watch the replay. Slide deck [PDF]
June 4: U.S. Solar Market & Installation Trends 2013
IREC’s highly anticipated annual report released in July, U.S. Solar Market and Installation Trends 2013, compiles and analyzes public data on U.S. solar installations by technology, state and market sector for 2012. Now in its sixth year, IREC’s 2013 Solar Market Trends Report covers solar technologies that produce electricity, including photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP). The webinar featured information about PV installations in 2012, including growth trends by sector and state rankings for installations. Watch the replay.
December 4: Solar Content Integration: Creating a Nimble Solar Workforce
Dr. Jerry Ventre explores options for developing a more nimble solar workforce by affecting the education and training curriculum for occupations in closely related fields. The suggested approach provides needed instruction while minimizing the effects of market volatility and job uncertainty. Examples and options are provided for selected occupations across the solar industry value chain, and advantages to key stakeholder groups will be noted. The approach presented is complementary to the Solar Career Map developed by Dr. Sarah White and IREC’s best practices document entitled Solar Content Integration. Watch the replay.
October 2: Solar Content Integration: A North Carolina Case Study
In building the solar workforce, is it better to educate and train solar specialists or integrate solar knowledge and add-on skills to existing curricula? That’s the question Andrew McMahan, Energy Sector Director at Central Carolina Community College, addressed, based on his experience as the North Carolina Community College System’s lead college for its Code Green Super Curriculum Improvement Project (CIP). In this free webinar, Andy talked about the Code Green Super CIP, a North Carolina statewide initiative which has been developing improvements in curriculum and continuing education green programs in five sectors: energy, transportation, engineering technology, environment and building. The curricula integrates renewable energy training and workforce development into existing vocational programs at all 58 community colleges across North Carolina. Andy shared his experiences integrating renewable energy curricula into existing training programs. Watch the replay.
September 5: U.S. Solar Market Trends for FY 2011
Despite some high-profile negative news stories about solar in 2011, solar markets are booming in the United States, says Larry Sherwood, President of Sherwood Associates, and author of the 2011 US Solar Market Trends Report from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. Falling photovoltaic prices, strong consumer demand, and financial incentives from the federal government, states and utilities meant that twice as much photovoltaic solar was installed in 2011, as was installed in 2010. Now in its fifth year in this annual report from IREC, Sherwood compiles and analyzes public data on U.S. solar installations by technology, state and market sector for 2011. It covers solar technologies that produce electricity, including photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP). Watch the replay
April 18: PV ValueTM Real Estate Tool
Geoff Klise from Sandia National Laboratories, and Jamie Johnson from Solar Power Electric discussed the recently released PV ValueTM spreadsheet tool developed for the appraisal and real estate industries to aid in making a market value determination for residential and commercial solar PV systems. PV ValueTM uses an income capitalization approach to determine the capitalized value which is the present value of the energy produced during the power production warranty lifetime. This tool has been formally endorsed by the Appraisal Institute and is being used to educate appraisers on how to value a solar pV system as part of a real estate transaction. Funding for developing PV ValueTM initiated with DOE EERE for a Solar America Communities project and is now being funded as a market transformation activity under the SunShot Initiative. Watch the replay.
March 22: The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) — an overview
Established in 1995, the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) is a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. DSIRE contains information on over 2,700 renewable energy and energy efficiency programs and is visited by more than 180,000 unique users per month. DSIRE is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. In this webinar, DSIRE Senior Policy Analyst, Brian Lips, gave an overview of the database and its functionality, including DSIRE SOLAR which provides solar-specific policy information for both PV and solar thermal. Brian also discussed solar policies and markets, and explained why some states have solar markets and why some don’t. Brian Lips has worked for the North Carolina Solar Center since 2006, and began working on dsireusa.org as a Policy Analyst in 2007. His current work involves researching and summarizing policies and incentives adopted by seven western states and North Carolina. Watch the replay.
January 25: Solar ABCs — an overview
The Solar America Board for Codes and Standards (Solar ABCs) was formed to identify current issues, establish a dialogue among key stakeholders, and catalyze appropriate activities to support the centralized development of PV systems codes and standards. The overarching goal of the Solar ABCs is to facilitate and accelerate the installation of high quality, safe PV systems. This program also provides access for PV manufacturers, sellers, buyers, users and regulators of a particular PV material, product, process or service to sponsor PV codes and standards research studies to help foster the acceleration of the PV market. In this webinar, Solar ABCs Project Administrator, Larry Sherwood, gave an overview of the program and talked about current codes and standards issues including preventing fires, ensuring firefighter safety, making sure the power rating is as labeled, and creating good permitting and inspection practices. Watch the replay.