Photovoltaic Labs Best Practices, the latest in a unique Solar Energy Education and Training Best Practices series, was released today by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) and the Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN).

“These documents give educators the right tools to develop and implement quality training programs and prepare students with indispensable skills to enter the solar workforce,” said Joe Sarubbi, SITN program manager.

This seventh document in the series is designed to assist faculty and administrators at colleges, universities and other technical training institutions who are interested in developing new photovoltaic (PV) laboratories or improving existing ones.  Lead authors include these well-respected solar educators and trainers: Brian Hurd, Hands on Solar; Christopher LaForge, Great Northern Solar; and Dr. Jerry Ventre, former director, Photovoltaics and Distributed Generation Division, Florida Solar Energy Center.

A compendium of national best practices, the series is for instructors in solar training, education and workforce development, written by leading industry experts and educators. It has become a respected source for instructors who are developing or enhancing solar education and training programs, or integrating solar into related trades programs.

The series was thoughtfully designed to give the best guidance for training a highly-skilled, globally-competitive solar U.S. Workforce,” said IREC President and CEO Jane Weissman.

Photovoltaic Labs Best Practices presents information on developing laboratories that are inclusive enough for PV system installation courses and programs.  Each section of the report features an online image gallery, links to manufacturers and suppliers of equipment, as well as specifications for four PV labs, ranging in price from $10K to $100K.

“We are so fortunate to have these lead authors on the photovoltaic labs best practice document,” said Sarubbi.  “They have decades of experience in solar education and training.  The depth of that knowledge and expertise is very apparent.”

Designed to provide an in-depth overview of PV labs in a step-by-step approach, educators and trainers will appreciate the clickable index that allows easy navigation between sections. By skimming the index, users can pick and choose sections that best meet individual needs.

“The Best Practices series has the potential to significantly enhance the quality of solar education and training in this country,” said Sarubbi. “I would have seen something like this as invaluable if it was available when I was developing my solar program.”

This suite of best practices documents builds on IREC’s earlier versions from 2008 and 2010. All seven documents are web-based for laptop, tablet and mobile platforms. Chapters one through six are also available as PDFs.

IREC is the national administrator of the SITN, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, a national collaborative effort to make solar energy cost-competitive with other forms of electricity by the end of the decade.

In addition to the new PV labs document, the other six chapters in the best practices series include:

  • Becoming an Effective Teacher:  teaching and learning strategies that promote effective instruction.
  • Curriculum & Program Development: overview of the curriculum development process, with special attention to DACUM (Developing a Curriculum) methodology and Job Task Analysis (JTA).
  • Developing a Quality Course:  describes, using the instructional systems design (ISD) model and ADDIE Model, how to design and develop a course or workshop.
  • Solar Content Integration: options for integrating solar content into existing education and training programs.
  • Exemplary Solar Education and Training Programs: information on six exemplary solar education and training programs in the U.S.
  • Textbooks, References and Other Instructional Resources: recommended training suites, textbooks, key references for both PV and solar heating and cooling (SHC) instructors.