Team-teaching Brings IREC Certified Instructor and Mobile Solar Lab to NY students

Originally published in Northeast SITN Quarterly, Fall 2014
Written by Amy Hudnor
Kenebec Valley Community College
Reprinted with permission

Over the summer, solar instructor Mike Paradis and I were fortunate to be invited by Larry Reeger, SITN instructor trainee, to hold the hands-on course, Solar PV Design and Installation for Building/Construction Programs at Sullivan County Community College in the Catskill Mountains of New York. Driving the mobile solar lab from Maine to New York seemed like a trek, but taking in the beautiful views of the surrounding mountains from the expansive 400 acre campus made it all feel worthwhile. SUNY Sullivan, as it is also know because of its inclusion in the State University of New York (SUNY) system, serves about 1,500 students and has a focus on sustainability that is evident in its curriculum, campus facilities, and on the banners that hang around campus saying ‘SUNY Sullivan Our Future Is Green.’

Instructor trainees view SUNY Sullivan sustainability initiatives Photo: Amy Hudnor

Instructor trainees view SUNY Sullivan sustainability initiatives Photo: Amy Hudnor

Holding the summer course at SUNY Sullivan was rewarding for KVCC as well as the instructor trainees because Larry led tours of the college’s sustainability features. We had in-depth views of the geothermal HVAC pump station, 3kW ground-mounted PV system, 2.5 kW wind turbine, community garden, straw bale shed and forced air composting system. The college is hoping to break ground on a 2 MW ground-mounted solar PV system in November.

Larry Reeger is an instructor in the SUNY Sullivan AAS Green Building Maintenance and Management program. He joined SITN because he wanted to increase and improve the Solar PV content in his courses, Intro to Renewable Energy and Solar and Wind Systems taken by students in the Green Building Maintenance and Management program. Students in Green Building learn skills and knowledge needed to effectively manage buildings that incorporate sustainable building principles and technologies.

Larry is working on re-designing the Solar and Wind Systems class to include more robust solar content and incorporate NABCEP learning objectives and wants the college to become an authorized NABCEP Solar PV entry level exam provider. He is also working on increasing the solar training equipment in his lab to include a PV ballasted mounting system, mock roof, mounting hardware and solar modules.

Larry (far left) and Mike (second from left) team-teaching a solar lab to SUNY Sullivan Green Building students  Photo: Karen Ward

Larry (far left) and Mike (second from left) team-teaching a solar lab to SUNY Sullivan Green Building students
Photo: Karen Ward

Larry says, “Many of the students that enroll in our green building courses are students that are looking for a college degree and a transferable skill so they can go straight into the workforce.”

Mike Paradis visited SUNY Sullivan again in September when classes were in session to provide mentoring to Larry in instructing solar PV and provide the training equipment for his students via the mobile solar lab. Mike and Larry team-taught solar PV mechanical installation over two days to students from Intro to Renewable Energy and Solar and Wind Systems courses.

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