Category Archives: Solar Energy Education

The Solar Foundation releases a new solar jobs toolkit

Strategies for Solar Workforce Development: A Toolkit for the Solar Industry was published by the Solar Training Network, a program The Solar Foundation leads that is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office.

The toolkit is designed to help meet the high demand for qualified employees and build a skilled and diverse solar workforce. Written for both large employers and small solar businesses, the toolkit includes a detailed guide for setting up work-based learning programs to invest in current and future workers.

This new toolkit includes a Workforce Development Action Plan showing how solar companies can partner with local workforce development boards and American Job Centers to support the hiring, recruitment, and training process.

The toolkit also includes a step-by-step implementation guide for building a work-based learning program, including internships, apprenticeships, and on-the-job training.

Download the toolkit here.

SOLAR TRAINING NETWORK INFOGRAPHICS – CLICK TO ENLARGE 

The Business Case for Solar Training                                                   Help Wanted 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Vintage hiring and training solutions for a better solar workforce

In this op-ed for pv magazine, The Solar Foundation’s Chris Walker explores issues of aligning solar training programs with workforce needs. Walker is Senior Program Manager for the Solar Training Network at The Solar Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the use of solar and solar-compatible technologies worldwide.

Global students racing to catch rays in Hastings

By John Huthmacher, Hastings Tribune

A field of 21 collegiate clubs from around the globe are spending a week in Hastings to catch rays at the Formula Sun Grand Prix 2018 at Motorsport Park Hastings through July 12. Universities representing the U.S., Russia, Canada, Australia, Italy and Saudi Arabia will compete in eight-hour qualifying heats Tuesday through Thursday at the track in hopes of earning a trip to the bi-yearly American Solar Challenge Road Event from Omaha to Oregon July 13-22.

The three-day race runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at MPH, 427 S. Showboat Blvd. Admission is free but visitors must sign a standard waiver and wear a wrist band while on the grounds. Team members will visit with the public as their schedules allow. Parking is available by the security station. Read the entire article here.

DISPLAY DAY & START LINE

Following the track race, teams will move to the starting point of the American Solar Challenge in Omaha, Nebraska at Lewis & Clark Landing. This is where the display day and multi-occupant judging will take place.

Display: July 13, 3:00-7:00pm
Start Line: July 14 at 8:00am

Nebraskans for Solar will be among organizations hosting booths at the American Solar Challenge Display Day at Lewis & Clark Landing on July 13. Please join us for a solar activity for all ages as you visit representatives from local nonprofits.

For the road portion of the event, teams can expect a journey covering more than 1,700 miles. The route will cover portions of the Oregon Trail from Nebraska to Oregon. Stops include Grand Island on July 14 and Gering on July 15 – 16.

For additional details, see our calendar or visit: americansolarchallenge.org.

Nebraska tribe becomes a solar power leader on the Plains

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska already boasts 400 kilowatts of installed solar panels, more than nearly any other Midwestern Indian tribe. It doesn’t plan to stop there. The American Indian tribe expects to learn later this summer whether it will receive a federal grant to pay half the cost of an additional 300 kilowatts. Tribal leaders in this community of about 850 people in northeastern Nebraska say the solar push, which started a decade ago, advances commitments to sustainability and self-sufficiency, and is cutting electric bills.

“We’ve had 100 tribes visit our community,” [Ann Marie Bledsoe-Downes, vice president for community impact and engagement of Ho-Chunk Inc] said. “We talk about many subjects with these leaders. We spend substantial time on our renewable-energy effort. Other tribes say, ‘Let’s do what Winnebago is doing.’ It resonates with people that we are taking control over our own resources.” Read the entire article here.

Photo by The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska showing solar systems on senior housing.

UPCOMING EVENT – SAVE THE DATE & JOIN US!

Tour The Winnebago Tribe’s Solar Farm And More Renewable Energy Sites

Sponsored by Nebraskans for Solar
Hosted by Robert Byrnes, Owner of Nebraska Renewable Energy Systems and  The Winnebago Community’s Sustainability Coordinator

When: August 11, 2018 from 11am to 3pm, or for as long as you want to stay.
Where: We’ll meet at the Winnebago Solar Farm at 11am for a tour, discussion,
Q&A and lunch–and then visit more sites. See our calendar for directions.

Nebraska Renewable Energy Systems, the Winnebago Community, and Ho-Chunk Inc, the tribe’s award-winning economic corporation, are developing one of the largest renewable energy infrastructures in the state. They’ve installed solar arrays at 14 sites.

Please bring your lunch and lawn chairs. Nebraskans for Solar will provide
a variety of cold drinks and desserts. Carpoolers may have an extra dessert.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
The Winnebago Community’s Renewable Energy Development A Part of Overall Mission,
by Sam Burrish, Communications Manager, Ho-Chunk, Inc.

RECOMMENDED VIEWING
A delegation of Winnebago tribal and business leaders, including Ho-Chunk Inc. CEO Lance Morgan, spoke at a luncheon on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, for state senators at the Nebraska State Capitol.

UMN Morris To Take Part In First Statewide Solar Congress

By Jennie Ray, University of Minnesota Morris News

What: Minnesota Solar Congress
Who: Solar United Neighbors, University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center, Minnesota Farmers Union, Renewing the Countryside, University of Minnesota Morris, Clean Energy Resource Teams, Sustainable Farming Association – Western Chapter
When: Saturday, July 21, 11 am to 4 pm
Where: University of Minnesota West Central Research & Outreach Center, 46352 State Highway 329, Morris, Minnesota 56267

The University of Minnesota Morris will take part in the first annual Minnesota Solar Congress on Saturday, July 21. Hosted by Solar United Neighbors, the Congress is a free daylong event filled with educational and social opportunities for solar enthusiasts. Open to the public. 
Click here for additional details. 

MORE CLEAN ENERGY NEWS & OPINION

EV / EV INFRASTRUCTURE NEWS

  • Q&A: Midwest partnership pushing to expand EV infrastructure in region, Energy News Network
    Charge Up is pressing utilities to expand charging infrastructure and advocating for money from the $2.8 billion Volkswagen emissions cheating settlement to be spent on electric school buses and public transit, which can play a key role in kickstarting electric vehicle deployment. The group includes the Environmental Law and Policy Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Clean Fuels Ohio, Great Plains Institute, the Ecology Center, and Fresh Energy. 
    Charge Up Midwest 
  • Chevrolet to boost Bolt EV production by 20% to meet demand, CNET
    The Bolt EV has proven more popular than expected in North America and South Korea.

Solar car racers motoring into G.I.

By Julie Blum, Grand Island Independent

Solar cars traveling in a 1,700-mile cross-country trip will be cruising into Grand Island next week. The Stuhr Museum will be the first checkpoint stop for participants after the race gets underway earlier in the day in Omaha on July 14. The 2018 American Solar Challenge has collegiate racers traveling from Nebraska to Oregon in solar-powered vehicles they created. They will spend nine days on the road driving west along U.S. highways, state roads and secondary roads following portions of the Oregon Trail. There are 24 teams that have registered for the race. That number will be whittled down through a qualifying process July 6-12 that includes vehicle inspections and the Formula Sun Grand Prix. The inspections and the track race will be held at Motorsport Park Hastings. Continue here.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Electrek is sponsoring the American Solar Challenge! Join Us!

By Sam Weintraub, Electrek Publisher and Editor

We’re proud to announce Electrek is sponsoring the American Solar Challenge this year. The 2018 event (PDF Flyer), which begins next weekend, will see racers take their Solar-powered “cars” from OmahaNebraska to BendOregon loosely through the Oregon Trail. I use quotes because to get the watts/mile equation on these vehicles to within what’s possible with a car footprint solar array, you’ll essentially need 4-wheeled electric bicycles.

The American Solar Challenge (ASC) is a multi-day, 1,500-2,000 mile cross-country endurance rally across North America. The event is typically held every other year during the summer and is open to collegiate level solar car teams from countries all over the world. The routes have varied greatly over the course of the event’s rich history, but they are always designed to provide teams with a great opportunity to demonstrate their solar cars under real world driving conditions and thoroughly test the reliability of all onboard systems.

Click image, below, to link to the American Solar Challenge on Facebook. 

TRACK AND ROUTE / DISPLAY DAY AT LEWIS & CLARK LANDING IN OMAHA

Hosting both the scrutineering and Formula Sun Grand Prix portions of the event will be Motorsport Park Hastings in Hastings, Nebraska. The 2018 Formula Sun Grand Prix will be the first at the 2.15 mile track.

Following the track race, teams will move to the starting point of the American Solar Challenge in Omaha, Nebraska at Lewis & Clark Landing. This is where the display day and multi-occupant judging will take place.

Display: July 13, 3:00-7:00pm
Start Line: July 14 at 8:00am

(Nebraskans for Solar will be among organizations sponsoring booths at the American Solar Challenge display day at Lewis & Clark Landing on July 13).

For the road portion of the event, teams can expect a journey covering more than 1,700 miles. The route will cover portions of the Oregon Trail from Nebraska to Oregon; the stops are listed here: ASC 2018 Route Book Download

Additional details are posted on our calendar and here.

SEIA Releases Updated ‘SEIA Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power’

Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – To advance efforts to educate residential solar consumers across America and  pave the way to a positive solar buying experience, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) launched an updated SEIA Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power.

Available online, the free guide offers those interested in going solar a one-stop shop to better understand the basics of solar energy and ownership options. It includes key questions to ask solar installers before entering a transaction. The guide is a result of a joint effort of the leading companies across the solar industry and goes hand in hand with SEIA’s existing Solar Business Code by which all SEIA members abide. Read the entire news release here.

More SEIA Resources

Additional Guide for Local Landowners
Solar Land Lease: Considerations in Nebraska
Authors:

YouTube Video
Solar Farm Leases – John Hay

About SEIA
Celebrating its 44th anniversary in 2018, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry, which now employs more than 250,000 Americans. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to build jobs and diversity, champion the use of cost-competitive solar in America, remove market barriers and educate the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.

Registration Deadline for Solar Design and Installation Workshop Friday, June 29th!

Nebraska Extension in partnership with Dixon Power Systems

DOWNLOAD THE FLYER HERE

This workshop is open to the public.

Instructors:  John Hay, Department of Biosystems Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Jon Dixon, Dixon Power Systems
Cost: $450 for the week
Deadline: Registration and payment due by Friday, June 29th
Workshop Dates: July 9th – July 13th

WORKSHOP CONTENT

  • Introduction to Solar PV electronics and components
  • Basics of electricity, measuring, tools and safety
  • Solar siting – where to locate the panels, sun angles
  • Capabilities and limitations of solar PV
  • Electrical codes, state and federal policy, tax credits and economics
  • Building a rack
  • Attaching inverters and other components
  • Grounding and other wiring
  • Wire management and final appearance
  • Working with your utility and electrical inspector to complete grid interconnection

Photo: Previous workshop participants and their DIY solar array.

News from The Nebraska League of Conservation Voters

By Chelsea Johnson, Deputy Director of the Nebraska League of Conservation Voters and the Nebraska Conservation Education Fund

Now in the depths of spring, we at the Nebraska League of Conservation Voters have had a busy season thus far. From bringing together over 150 Nebraskans to hear from world-renowned nature photographer, David Thoreson, in May to lobbying on Capitol Hill for sound conservation policies last weekend, we’re excited about the energy surrounding the conservation of our state’s beautiful natural resources.

ADDITIONAL ANNOUNCEMENTS & PHOTOS

  • NCEF Directors host solar workshops in Columbus and Fremont


NCEF Common Ground organizers have been working hard to bring solar energy education to various communities in the Northeast region of the state. Check out this write-up about NCEF’s solar presentation from the Columbus Telegram, and take a look through these photos from the group’s tour of the Fremont Community Solar Farm and the Lon D. Wright Power Plant. Learn more about Common Ground’s local events at  our Facebook page.
Photo: NCEF Common Ground Team

  • Upcoming Event: Common Ground Town Hall with Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning

Join NCEF for this event, which will include discussion about community development, citizen involvement, and renewable energy in Northeast Nebraska.

Where: Norfolk Chamber of Commerce
When: Wednesday, June 27th from 5 – 7 PM

This event is free and open to the public, but please register here if you plan to attend.

  • We’re hiring!

We are hiring Common Ground AmeriCorps members, who will serve from September 1, 2018 to August 31st, 2019. As an AmeriCorps Member with the Nebraska Conservation Education Fund (NCEF), you will increase knowledge of and concern for the most important conservation issues facing our state through our Nebraska-wide Common Ground Program. You will recruit, coach, and support local community volunteers in implementing conservation projects, and build partnerships between conservation professionals, local and state government, and your fellow community members.

Apply here to join our team of organizers that provide conservation education and outreach to every corner of our state. Benefits of being an AmeriCorps member include a living stipend, education award, and joining a prestigious, nationwide group  of people who are committed to giving back to their communities.

Positions are available in Lincoln, Omaha, York, Grand Island, North Platte, and Scottsbluff. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until July 1 or until all positions are filled.

To subscribe to NLCVs electronic newsletters sign up here.