April Clark: Hi Carol, thanks so much for discussing in depth the recent developments in Solar Energy International's solar training program.
Carol Weis: Thank you for the opportunity. The PV team is thrilled to share our exciting news.
AC: Carol, what role does SEI play in the PV world?
CW: For the past 20 years, SEI has been at the forefront of solar PV training. SEI employs more than 30 PV instructors, who work in the photovoltaics field and keep up-to-date with new technology and regulations. Many of our instructors are NABCEP-certified and ISPQ-accredited.
AC: How does SEI approach the growing solar training industry?
CW: To stay ahead of this ever-changing field, we constantly update our PV curriculum to reflect the most recent changes in the industry. We also invite industry experts to conduct technical and curriculum reviews to ensure our student’s learning experience is of the highest quality.
AC: What does SEI have in store for 2010?
CW: In 2010, we’re offering more PV workshops than ever. And because our courses build upon each other, there are workshops for every skill level and interest, from the DIY homeowner to the professional installer. ::continue::
AC: What is different about SEI’s PV curriculum?
CW: Although we update our PV curriculum three times a year, in 2010 we’ve expanded our offerings to make the workshops more specific to the changing industry. We feel that our new curriculum model with in-depth class exercises, quizzes, and labs will engage our students and create competent installers and designers ready to enter the industry.
AC: What if a student is new to solar training?
CW: PV101 allows students at any level to engage in learning immediately, by first taking a PV PREP course online that covers the basics of renewable energy and the basics of electricity. Students have access to the PV PREP course before and during the PV101 workshop.
AC: What can a student expect when taking a PV101 course?
CW: PV101 (both in-person and online) focuses on grid-direct systems, the most common PV system in the U.S. today. The workshop covers the fundamentals of PV, site analysis, mounting and grounding. The in-person workshop is much more interactive than before, with 45 minute-to-one hour-long segments followed directly by applied exercises. The workshop includes hands-on labs, followed by additional hands-on training with our one week grid-direct lab class.
AC: Where do students go from there?
CW: PV202 (both in-person and online) is an advanced grid-direct PV workshop focusing more on the National Electric Code and design calculations. We have also added sections on commercial PV issues such as three phase services, small and large commercial sizing, choosing an inverter and mounting. And in 2010, we are offering our first-ever Women’s Only PV202 workshop. PV101 and PV202 are a must for anyone going into the grid-direct business.
AC: How can students learn about battery-based systems?
CW: For those interested in learning about battery-based systems, SEI now offers PV203 which covers both stand-alone and grid-tied with battery back-up systems. This workshop, offered both in-person and online, covers the spectrum of designing and installing code-compliant battery-based systems, and can be taken directly after the PV101 workshop.
AC: How can students receive battery-based systems hands-on training?
CW: New this year is SEI’s battery-based, lab week for hands-on training focused primarily on battery-based systems. Both of SEI’s lab week workshops use the most current equipment available, and provide students the opportunity to garner hands-on education using an extensive variety of equipment on the market today.
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