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Training and Education

Renewable Energy is a new and exciting field. Problem is, there is a general lack of formal training options for those looking to get into the business.

If you have decided upon a career in this sector you may familiarize yourself with available courses at Community Colleges that have similar, related trades training.

Alternative energy technologies generally build upon existing trades. For instance, if you wish to install solar-electric systems, you need to be an electrician; solar hot water, plumber.

Canadian Programs:

For the most part, Canada lags behind the rest of the world in terms of training options for renewable energy. Most of us who have been in the industry for a while are self-taught. There are many other institutions that will be offering training programs in the very near future. We are only listing active training options on this list.

BC Sustainable Energy Association
What is solar energy? How much power can a wind turbine produce? What is biodiesel? There is a great need for schools, colleges and community educators to provide education in the practicalities of sustainable energy and global climate change. BCSEA offers A comprehensive listing of tools, resources and classroom materials for use by teachers and adult aducators.

British Columbia Institute of Technology, Burnaby, BC
BCIT offers two courses - Introduction to Photovoltaics, level 1 and 2. These courses are offered periodically as either an evening course, or a weekend intensive.


Seneca College, Ontario

PV Technician's Certificate

Seneca College, in partnership with CanSIA, offers an eleven-part training program for people who want to become professionally trained in the design and installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.

The program provides a comprehensive understanding of related electric theory and the fundamentals of PV systems. By a combination of individualized distance learning and in-class study, students will learn the theory and practice required to use and install a solar electric system. The approximate cost for each subject is $395 plus materials.

International Training

Solar Energy International
Colorado, USA based SEI offers the most comprehensive renewable energy training available. The offer hands-on workshops in solar, wind and water power and natural building technologies in eleven locations. SEI also offers internet based online courses.

NABCEP - North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners

The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP)
is a volunteer board of renewable energy stakeholder representatives. Our mission
is to support, and work with the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries,
professionals, and stakeholders to develop and implement quality credentialing
and certification programs for practitioners

Consistent with this mission NABCEP is working to develop national, credentialing and certifications for renewable energy professionals. NABCEP began that work by creating a certification program for solar electric installers referred to as the Solar PV Installer Certification.

Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC)
1679 Clearlake Road
Cocoa, FL 32922-5703

The Florida Solar Energy Center, a research institute of the State University System of Florida, currently offers ongoing courses for continuing education units and many are approved for Florida professional license renewals. One and two-day courses are offered on such subjects as photovoltaics, solar water heating, home energy rating certification, energy-efficient building strategies, and more. See their list of PV and distributed generation training programs.

Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA)
7558 Deer Road
Custer, WI 54423

MREA offers workshops that cover a variety of topics including wind and solar power and energy efficient construction techniques.

Appalachian State University
North Carolina Small Wind Initiative
Department of Technology
Boone, NC 28608

The North Carolina Small Wind Initiative at Appalachian State University offers a Home-Scale Wind Energy Workshop Series including introductory and hands-on wind turbine installation courses for all levels of interest.

Cape Cod Community College
2240 Iyanough Road
West Barnstable. MA 02668

Cape Cod Community College is establishing a broad-based Renewable Energy education and training program in collaboration with Mass Maritime Academy, U Mass/Dartmouth and two technical high schools, the Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School and Cape Cod Technical School.

Crowder College MARET Center
601 Laclede Ave.
Neosho, MO 64850

Crowder offers courses on solar thermal systems, passive solar, solar electric systems, wind and alternative fuel vehicles.

Georgia Institute of Technology
University Center of Excellence for Photovoltaics Research and Education
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering
777 Atlantic Drive
Atlanta, GA 30332-0250

The Center helps to train undergraduate and graduate students in the field of crystalline-silicon solar cells, both at Georgia Tech and at other Universities through joint research efforts.

Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association (GLREA)
257 South Bridge Street
PO Box 346
Dimondale, MI 48821

GLREA offers professional training for photovoltaic system integrators and installers.

Lane Community College -- Energy Management
4000 East 30th Ave
Eugene, OR 97405

This is a two-year associate of applied science degree program with a Renewable Energy Technician Option. Offered by the Science Department.

North Carolina Solar Center
North Carolina State University
Box 7401
Raleigh, NC 27695-7401

The North Carolina Solar Center serves as a clearinghouse for solar and other renewable energy programs, information, research, technical assistance, and training. The Center offers workshops on passive solar design and construction, photovoltaic system design and installation and other related courses. They are also offering a new Renewable Energy Diploma.

Oakland Community College
739 S. Washington
Royal Oak, MI 48067

Oakland CC offers four degree options in environmental systems technology.The college offers online versions of its courses in Energy Management and Introduction to Solar and other Renewable Energies.

San Juan College
4601 College Blvd
Farmington, NM 87402

The renewable energy program at San Juan College gives the student a foundation in the fundamental physics and design/installation techniques required to work with renewable technologies. The concentration in Photovoltaic System Design and Installation is offered as an associate of applied science degree or a one-year certificate.

Solar Living Institute
PO Box 836
13771 S. Highway 101
Hopland, CA 95449

The Institute provides one- to nine-day workshops on renewable energy, green building, sustainable living, ecological design and alternative construction methods.

University of Delaware
Institute of Energy Conversion (IEC)
451 Wyoming Road
Newark, DE 19716-3820

The Institute of Energy Conversion at the University of Delaware is a multi-disciplinary laboratory devoted to research and development of thin-film photovoltaic cells. IEC's research program is complemented by an educational mission that enables both undergraduate and graduate students to obtain degrees while working with professionals engaged in solar cell research.

University of Massachusetts - Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003-2210

The Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (CEERE) provides technological and economic solutions to environmental problems resulting from energy production, industrial, manufacturing, and commercial activities, and land use practices.

University of Massachusetts-Lowell
Solar Energy Engineering
Mechanical Engineering Department
One University Avenue
Lowell, MA 01854

UMASS-Lowell offers a Master of Science in Energy Engineering program with a Solar Energy Option.

Alternative Energy Institute
West Texas A&M University
2501 4th Avenue
Canyon, Texas 79016-0001

The Alternative Energy Institute’s primary emphasis has been placed on wind energy, though certain research and education are also on solar energy. AEI personnel have developed two introductory courses, one for wind energy and one for solar energy.



BC Sustainable Energy Association

BCIT Introduction to PV

Seneca College PV Techicians Certificate

Solar Energy International

Solar Living Institute

North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP)

Electrical Inspector Guide

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