Learn About Solar Energy Training Courses

Learn about these exciting solar energy training courses. Get plugged in to the exciting realities of photovoltaics, whether just to learn the basics or maybe to find a new career.

| August/September 2003

Learn about solar energy training courses you can take to learn about fixing your own home or earn your way into a solar energy career.

Plug in your PC for Photovoltaics

Consider signing up for an online introductory course if you are new to renewable energy. You simply pay the course fee, log on and learn at your leisure. Most online courses provide discussion forums and downloadable text; some, like SoL Energy of Carbondale, Colorado, include solar sizing-and-design software. Expect to pay from $150 for an online overview of photovoltaic (PV) systems to $500 for a comprehensive online class on system design and installation. Course duration can span from several weeks to many months, depending upon the course requirements and your motivation. This chart highlights various groups that offer online introductory courses.

Get Your Hands-on PV

If you're planning to install your own solar power system or explore a possible career installing or selling solar, get hands-on training. Wiring together PV modules, raising wind towers and programming inverters is the best way to learn the trade.

You may be able to master the basics of designing and installing a home PV system in a matter of days if you're mechanically inclined and a quick study, although the more practice you have, the better.

Several organizations conduct weekend-long classes on PV systems. Besides learning about solar, participants who attend the Solar Living Institute's (SLI) one- and two-day workshops in Hopland, California, get to experience renewable energy firsthand. SLI's beautiful 12-acre renewable-energy powered and permaculture-landscaped campus features a small 3-kilowatt wind generator and 10-kilowatts of solar power. The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA), in north central Wisconsin, also holds two-day and longer workshops. Students choose from a multitude of different solar electric workshops tailored to various levels - from beginner to advanced. Many of the workshops are taught in a solar- and wind-powered classroom facility, on 5 acres just outside of Custer. Fees for these short courses start at $150.

If you want more thorough training, many organizations offer longer, more intensive courses. At Solar Energy International (SEI) outside of Carbondale, Colorado, students spend two weeks learning about photovoltaic systems. The first week is dedicated to classroom instruction. Along with SEI instructors, guest speakers from different aspects of the renewable energy industry give students a unique perspective and understanding of what it's like to work in the industry. During the second week, students apply their acquired knowledge in the field, configuring a photovoltaic system. Mia Devine, a graduate from one of SEI's Women's PV workshops, says that SEI's workshops gave her a "jump-start" and, most importantly, "two sets of tools: physical tools (wrench, screwdriver, drill) and mental tools (confidence, strength and knowledge)."

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: September 14-16, 2018
Seven Springs, PA

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard