Have Solar Training Will Travel: KVCC’s Mobile Solar Lab Hits the Road
by Amy Hudnor
Kennebec Valley Community College
If you find yourself traveling the highways of the Northeast this spring and summer, don’t be surprised if you see a brightly decorated silver van and trailer with logos and photographs advertising Kenebec Valley Community College’s (KVCC) renewable energy training program. This March, Mike Paradis and Amy Hudnor of KVCC began traveling the Northeast in the new mobile solar training lab.
The van and trailer are packed full of the equipment needed for solar PV hands-on training. The goal is to assist regional solar training by providing instructional support and training equipment where it is needed.
In 2014, the mobile lab will primarily be utilized for solar instructor and code official training. Through collaborative efforts, solar training can now be accomplished at schools and other training centers that may not have the adequate experience, equipment or lab facilities.
“The mobile solar lab has all the equipment needed to support solar training where it is needed,” said Paradis. “We can provide solar instruction and mentoring to schools and training centers that may have only limited equipment or no equipment at all.”
In March, Hudnor drove the mobile solar lab to a workshop on solar PV code requirements at the Connecticut Fire Academy. The workshop, organized by Hudson Valley Community College and the CT Department of Construction Services, attracted 90 attendees who filled the room to capacity. The instructor, Chris Warfel, used the solar equipment brought by the mobile lab to demonstrate solar principals in the National Electrical Code during the class and individually to participants during the breaks.
The first week of April, Paradis brought the mobile solar lab to one of KVCC’s partner institutions, University of Bridgeport, for a tutorial on instructing solar PV laboratories to the American Society of Engineering Education conference. Attendees included students and educators who expressed interest in solar PV technology and training.
This summer, Paradis will use the mobile solar lab to teach the hands-on portion of a hybrid course ‘Solar PV Design and Installation.’ This is a new course being delivered to KVCC’s Solar Instructor Training Network participants. Four separate training events will be hosted at four different partnering educational institutions within the Northeast region.
Images courtesy of Kenebec Valley Community College