Kathy Swartz - Renewable Energy Training Director, Solar Energy International
May 02, 2012
On April 30, Solar Energy International officially kicked off the 2012 summer PV training season with a full class for PV201L: Solar Electric Lab Week (Grid-Direct) at its state-of-the-art training facility in Paonia, Colorado.
The solar training workshop participants represent three countries and 14 different states. Each of the participants were required to complete at least one PV101 online or in-person training to attend this specialized training. Seven of the participants are enrolled in SEI's Solar Professionals' Certificate Program.
The students are a mixture of engineers, electricians, contractors, a college student, a community college instructor, project manager, installers looking to receive more training (at least three), and several people looking for a career change.
For this workshop, SEI has provided crew of four instructors and two support staff who, combined, have more than 80 years of experience actively working in the PV industry selling, designing and installing systems.
Solar Energy International has had an active relationship with the PV industry for more than 21 years, offering nonprofit, nonbiased, nonaffiliated training taught by field-experienced instructors. The PV industry has respected and supported SEI's training because of this. Thanks to this industry support, each year SEI expands its Paonia PV Lab Facility to evolve with the rapidly changing industry through valuable in-kind donations. And 2012 has been no exception.
This spring, SEI installed a 2kW system with donated thin-film modules, using Helical pier foundations from Cantsink. This system uses UniRac's ULA racking components and a Fronius IG Plus 3000W inverter, both of which were donated. Multi-Contact also donated locking clips for the older style MC3 leads on the modules. Wire management was made easy and clean with the use of Snake Tray bolted to the back of the rails.
In addition, we installed another system that uses a donated Solar Edge Inverter with their module level electronics. We are using a variety of existing SEI modules to demonstrate Solar Edge's abilities maximize the output of each module. This system was also installed using a variety of donated equipment including: ULA racking components from UniRac, SolarWorld 175W modules, Eaton AC & DC disconnect switches, and WEEB grounding hardware from Wiley Electronics.
Solectria generously donated a 95kW commercial inverter, which is mounted in our PV Lab Facility to demonstrate commercial-sized equipment. In addition, Fronius donated a 10kW, three-phase commercial inverter that's now mounted and wired to a three-phase (nonoperational) service panel and disconnect, where students can practice wiring.
SEI is also excited to install and rotate two new racking systems through the "Ballast Mount" lab station. Sollega and Renusol both generously donated their ballast pan system for this lab. This will provide students the opportunity to work with multiple ballast racking solutions as part of this lab station. The new racking from Sollega and Renusol will complement the existing racking solutions from UniRac and Schletter.
Within the next months, we will become a beta test site for Power-One microinverters, and we'll finish a 6kW system with donated Abound thin-film modules.
April was a busy month for industry connections and Solar Energy International. Not only do manufacturers supply SEI with gear, they come to us for training and to train. MK Battery just sent five of their sales professionals and engineers to our training facility in Paonia for a customized training to help them better serve their customers.
Chad Medcroft, an early SEI alum, and Daniel East from Zep Solar recently visited SEI to provide an advanced training to the PV staff. As part of their visit, Zep Solar donated equipment for the new Zep II system that instructors can demonstrate as part of an existing roof lab station.
Flir generously comped a Level 1 Thermography training to SEI PV instructor Kris Sutton because of the innovative ways SEI will use their products in the upcoming PV351L: Tools and Techniques for Operation and Maintenance Lab Week (Grid-Direct). Flir is also supplying enough thermal imaging cameras for the PV351 lab class so that each participant can use their own.
Kaco graciously donated a classroom for our PV101 workshop recently held in Grass Valley, Calif. And next week, long-time supporter and Outback Engineer Darren Emmons is joining us for the PV301L: Solar Electric Lab Week (Battery-Based) as an instructor.
The summer of 2012 is shaping up to be another successful season of training at SEI. Whether you are new to the industry or a long-time installer looking to expand your skill sets, Solar Energy International has a training designed specifically for you in colorful Colorado.
View the SEI workshop schedule here and enroll today.
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