With the rapid growth of the renewable energy industry and solar photovotaics in particular, many employment opportunities in fields such as solar system design and installation are showing increasing demand.

To meet this upcoming demand, several colleges and universities are beginning to offer accredited programs and degrees in renewable energy technologies.

Furthermore, many industry organizations offer specialized workshops and training to help prepare future energy workers for the complexities of renewable energy system design and installation.

2-Year Degrees and Certificates

  • San Juan College – Farmington, New Mexico
    Offers an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Photovoltaic System Design and Installation and a One-Year Certificate in Photovoltaic System Design and Installation (the certificate program is recommended for those who have industry experience or hold a 4-year degree).
    http://www.sjc.cc.nm.us/
  • Lane Community College – Eugene, Oregon
    Offers an Associate of Applied Science Degree in renewable energy technology, which includes a cooperative education requirement, so that students may gain industry field experience.
    http://www.lanecc.edu/
  • Coconino Community College – Arizona
    Offers an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Alternative Energy Technology, covering PV and wind-electric systems and solar home designs.
    http://www.coconino.edu/

Out of the 3 colleges covered in this article, San Juan’s programs, which include courses covering AC/DC circuits and NEC code, seem to be best suited to those interested in obtaining certification from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) or a state-level organization such as the Colorado Solar Energy Industry Association (CoSEIA). Of course, prospective students should also note that on-the-job training will be imperative to industry certification.

Workshops & Courses

For more information on solar PV workshops and courses, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) provides a comprehensive database of couse listings and workshops offered in the United States.