Mother Earth News Blogs > Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy

All things energy, from solar and wind power to efficiency and off-grid living.

Renewable Energy Education

While the world’s economy is slowly recovering and improving, we don’t have to tell you that the green collar economy is booming. Green job training programs are sprouting up across the country and are educating a new, unique type of dedicated work force.

If you’re interesting in switching careers, consider looking into a certificate program or an associate in applied science (AAS) degree in alternative energy technology. These certificates and degree programs will prepare you for the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners Entry Level Exam and will set your new career in motion.

If you’re just interested in learning more about the trade and technology, many community colleges and job training facilities offer seminars, individual courses and weekend workshops as well.

Below is an overview of some of the training programs around the United States. For a more thorough list, visit the Renewable Energy Training Catalog published by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.

 Installing PV Panel 

Solar Education Programs

The Evergreen Institute’s Center for Renewable Energy and Green Building 

303-883-8290 or

Located in Gerald, Missouri, Evergreen, Colorado and Clarendon, New York but hosts classes across the country.


Alaska Renewable Energy Programs

John Brown University 


Fernando Vega- Program Director 

Siloam Springs, AK 72761


Arizona Renewable Energy Programs

Coconino Community College 

Joseph Costion- Dept. Chair- 928-526-7696

Alternative Energy Technician Certificate, AAS degree in Alternative Energy Technology

Pima Community College 


Tucson, AZ

Solar installer certificate, AAS degree in Building and Construction Technologies with concentration in solar installer.


California Renewable Energy Programs

Solar Living Institute 707-472-2450

P.O. Box 836, Hopland, CA 95449

Workshops in California or on-line training

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers- Union 551- Santa Rosa, CA

John Lloyd- 707-542-3505

Offers classes toward certification

Sun Pirate Solar Training 


ISPQ Accredited, located Cotati, CA

UC Berkeley Extension 


Intro to PV Systems, Professional Program in Solar Energy and Green Building, Certificate in Construction Management

Diablo Valley College 


Pleasant Hill, CA

Alternative energy technology: PV systems certificate

Skyline College 

Certification in Solar Installation and Integration

San Bruno, CA

Boots on the Roof 


Fremont, CA

Master certificate in renewable energy, renewable energy boot camps, on-line courses, ISPQ accredited.

DeAnza College 

Ridha Hamidi- 408-864-8999 x 3159

Cupertino, CA

Intro to PV Tech, PV Tech Field Project

Solar Training Institute 


Throughout California

Solar Tech Institute 


East Los Angeles Skills Center 


PV Installer Introduction and Certification preparation courses

Green Career Institute 

866-545-5441 or

Throughout California

Allied Schools/Training4Green 

800-732-7410 or

Solar business, intro to PV, advanced PV. On-line courses.

MiraCosta College 

760-795-6820 or 888-895-8186

Oceanside, CA

One week courses in business strategies and PV


Colorado Renewable Energy Programs

Solar installer 

Solar Energy International 


Carbondale, CO

ISPQ Accredited Renewable Energy Education Program (REEP) on-line and hands on workshops offered all over.

iCAST- International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology 


Lakewood, CO

On-line training, classroom training. Some free training.

Arapahoe Community College 

Doug Mugge- Department Chair- 303-797-5863

Littleton, CO

Active Solar Thermal Systems Technician certificate


Florida Renewable Energy Programs

Florida Solar Energy Center 

321-638-1000 or Sherri Shields, Asst. Communications Director- 321-638-1010

Cocoa, FL


Michigan Renewable Energy Programs

Michigan Energy Demonstration Center at Northwestern Michigan College 


Oakland Community College 


Dr. Debra Row-

Certificate in Renewable Energies and Sustainable Living

Macomb Community College 

Lisa Richter- 586-445-7191

Renewable Energy Technology Certificate


Montana Renewable Energy Programs

The University of Montana, Missoula 

Jenny Gorsegner- Program Assistant- 406-243-7916 

Tom Gallagher- Department Chair- 406-243-7814

Energy Technology Program, online but majority of classes still offered in traditional classroom


New Mexico Renewable Energy Programs

San Juan College 

505-327-5705 or 866-426-1233 (toll free)

Farmington, NM 

Santa Fe Community College 

Randy Grissom- director Sustainable Technologies Center- 505-428-1641,

Certificate in Solar Energy


New York Renewable Energy Programs

SUNY Ulster Sustainability 845-339-2025

Courses in Office of Continuing and Professional Education


Oregon Renewable Energy Programs

Portland Community College 


Electronic Engineering Technology in Renewable Energy Systems- AAS degree or one year certificate

Northwest Energy Education Institute at Lane Community College 

541-463-3977 or 1-800-769-9687

4000 E. 30th Avenue, Eugene, Oregon

AAS in Energy Management, Renewable Energy Technician, Water Conservation Technician. Certification in Sustainable Building Advisor, Residential Energy Auditor, Building Operators Certification, Energy Management Certification. Customized energy training too. ISPQ Accredited!


Texas Renewable Energy Programs


512-443-5725 or

Austin, TX

Austin Community College 

Degree programs- 512-223-6404

Continuing education/Certification programs- 512-223-7525 or

ISPQ accredited!




Washington Renewable Energy Programs

Shoreline Community College 


16101 Greenwood Avenue North, Shoreline, WA 98133

Associates degree, three certificate programs

Lake Washington Technical College 

425-739-8100 x 660 (Dr. Grace Lasker)

11605 132nd Avenue NE, Kirkland, WA 98034

AASD - Energy & Science Technician, Energy Technology Certificate of Completion


Wisconsin Renewable Energy Programs

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College 

Solar Energy Technology Program: 920-498-5444 or 888-385-6982 (Associate Degree)

Renewable Energy: 920-498-5461 or 800-422-NWTC x. 5461 (Solar Certificate)

Synergized Solar 


River Falls, WI

Consortium for Education in Renewable Energy Technology (CERET)

Madison, WI

Renewable Energy Certificate

Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) 


Offers NABCEP certification training programs

Evergreen Institute Continuing Ed 

Green Job Resources

Great Green Careers Find green job listings and articles about exploring different types of green careers.

American Solar Energy Society (ASES) The organization's 2010 conference will be held in from May 20-22 in Phoenix, and will include a Green Careers Resource Center. Check out the link above for other green job information from ASES, including their most recent green job reports.

Also, check out this blog series from contributing editor Dan Chiras about finding a green job in the field of renewable energy.


Top photo: courtesy DOE/NREL/Sam Garst. Middle photo, courtesy Solar Energy International. Bottom photo: Courtesy the Evergreen Institute. 


max miller
2/15/2011 3:34:45 PM

I would also add Everblue's program ( to that list of national solar energy programs.

1/13/2011 6:20:23 AM

Here is another Institute which offers solar training classes in California. American Institute of Renewable Energy (AIRE)

d mcalpin
5/15/2010 12:56:07 PM

Siloam Springs is in AR not AK

tom lombardo
5/14/2010 5:07:13 PM

Hi, I saw your article about renewable energy education, and I thought you'd like to know that Illinois has at least one program also: Rock Valley College (Rockford IL) Associate in Applied Science in Sustainable Energy Systems Tom

the dream builder
5/14/2010 3:32:51 PM

You are 100 % correct quilting. Did you know you can press sunflower seeds for the oil, mix it with 10 to 15% gasoline or alcohol and end up with diesel fuel that makes about 30% more power than regular diesel fuel will make in an engine. A great place to learn about this is That means if I put a small 7.5 HP diesel engine on a tiller or whatever, it will put out nearly 10 HP. And it will use about 30% less fuel than just making the base HP on regular diesel fuel. And the kicker is that the waste isn't waste. You can feed it to chickens or any other type of feathered bird, pigs, goats, cows or whatever. I forget now much oil you can get from an acre but I figured I can plant three of the 20 +/- acre field I have in sunflowers, one in corn for the alcohol for the fuel, and have plenty of fuel to plant the other 16 acres in veggies and all the alcohol I'll drink in a year, LOL. Plus the waste of every thing will raise some goats for milk and other dairy products and pigs for all the meat we will need plus some to sell. Not sure if my meat rabbits can eat the leftovers or not. I need to check into that. If I ever get my feet back on the ground good, look out. And I'll build me a water wheel for the electricity too.

5/14/2010 10:52:22 AM

C,mon, Mother Earth. You guys are based out of Hendersonville, NC and didn't list/know about NC State's renewable energy classes? Oh well, so much for Carolinian unity ;) Here is NC State's information link:

5/14/2010 10:27:30 AM

The government has it's place but in the field of energy is is way off base. The first thing it did was turn all alcohol-producing Americans into scofflaws when Prohibition was enacted. The US and Europe ran on alcohol produced by farmers and sold to everyone for cars and tractors. Then the government got involved. Alcohol can be make with many high sugar plants at a greater yield than corn which is on the bottom of the list at 200 gal/acre. Other plants yield up to 1500 gal/acre and many grow with rainwater only. It is legal to make 10,000 gallons per year for yourself. You can put it in your car and it won't ruin anything, another big myth. Maybe governments needs to get involved again when it figures out how to tax small scale production.

shana haygood_3
5/14/2010 8:47:15 AM

Georgia has solar training too! Lanier Tech offers a NABCEP(tm) Solar Photovoltaic Entry Level Certification class. Lanier Tech has new sessions starting soon.