Seventeen Minnesota community and technical college instructors recently took part in Train-the-Trainer sessions on a new curriculum for Small Wind Energy Systems and are now prepared to offer courses on the subject.
The six-credit course material was produced by the nonprofit Windustry and written by experts, with support from the MN Office of Energy Security. It is the first of its kind in the country, designed to prepare installers for the written portion of the exam by North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).
Such training provides much-needed workforce development for an expanding small wind industry, which deals in energy systems that generate up to 100kW and are optimum for residential scale use.
“Certification in this field will quickly become the expectation,” said Alissa Harrington, a Community and Small Wind analyst for Windustry. “The test is comprehensive and good training is needed. NABCEP Certified installers must be able to specify, configure, install, inspect, and maintain a small wind energy system.”
The curriculum covers the entire installation process, from marketing to follow-up maintenance, and includes assistance in establishing an apprenticeship within Minnesota dealer networks. This is a key component, as Harrington said the NABCEP test requires candidates be involved in four installations in a “responsibility” position.
Curriculum authors Mick Sagrillo and Roy Butler are seasoned installers and instructors. They presented the material over two-weeks at the University of MN, Morris. They have also made it available for use by the instructors who teach in Albert Lea, Cloquet, Brainerd, Bemidji, and other areas across the State.