Solar Thermal Lessons You can’t Learn in a Book

Chuck Colgan's picture

CCSE recently hosted a five-day solar water heating installation training specifically for contractors, other industry professionals and self-installers who are looking to boost their careers. The training attracted more than a dozen participants with varying backgrounds and aspirations, motivated by a desire to advance their career in the burgeoning solar water heating market.

The National Solar Trainers (NST), a nationally recognized provider of training and professional development for clean energy professionals, led the August training. Throughout the week, students learned by doing as they assembled solar thermal components and mounted system racks to a roof.

A Student’s Point of View

One workshop attendee was Johanna Stutz, a home inspector and energy efficiency professional. According to Stutz, who has multiple Home Energy Rating System (HERS) and Building Performance Institute (BPI) credentials, a major benefit of the training was learning how to better explain and sell the advantages of solar thermal systems to her clients.

Stutz entered the energy-efficiency field as a member of Solgrid Energy before relocating to San Diego to become cofounder and chief operations officer for Energy Liberty Corporation, a financial analysis and consulting company focusing on energy efficiency for real estate professionals.

Benefits of the Workshop

Stutz said the solar thermal training enables her to speak with clients authoritatively about a wider menu of environmentally friendly product options. It also helps her company achieve its mission to support the sustainable construction industry.

Stutz said the immersive training gave participants the opportunity to dig deeper into topics, obtain multiple perspectives on overcoming technical challenges and exchange knowledge with other students. “You can’t get that from a book,” Stutz said of the hands-on training.

Future Trainings

To date, nearly 200 contractors and self-installers have participated in the joint CCSE/NST training, which prepares attendees for the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) credential. New training opportunities occur every few months. Visit CCSE’s solar thermal events page to check for future training opportunities and upcoming workshops.

Chuck Colgan