Penn State team shares solar expertise at SunShot Grand Challenge

Representatives from Penn State’s Northern Mid-Atlantic Solar Education and Resource Center (NMASERC) recently attended the SunShot Grand Challenge in Denver, Colo. Held from June 13-15, the event convened more than 650 academics, entrepreneurs, scientists, educators, and installers to strengthen U.S. leadership in global clean energy race, increase American economic prosperity, and capture the new markets and jobs of the 21st century.

As one of nine Regional Training Providers in the Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN), Penn State’s Northern Mid-Atlantic Solar Education and Resource Center, like the other eight RTPs, offers train-the-trainer programs in solar system design, installation, sales and inspection across the U.S. They train instructors at community colleges, technical high schools, and trade associations through online courses, in-person workshops with hands-on training, Wiki-based platforms, webinars, mobile training equipment and mentoring.

The SunShot Grand Challenge: Summit and Technology Forum was the first event in a series of Department of Energy Grand Challenges. This event focused on SunShot Initiative goals of achieving grid-parity solar energy within the decade. 

The participants from Penn State helped represent the Solar Instructor Training Network by providing a variety of solar PV training equipment for rooftop and ground-mounted displays that could be reassembled and demonstrated to SunShot grantees and conference attendees. Penn State representatives, led by David Riley, an associate professor in architectural engineering, along with a group of Front Range Community College students, set up equipment and demonstrated to the event’s attendees that building a highly trained solar workforce will help reduce overall costs of solar energy. 

“The solar education and training community is making a valuable contribution to reducing the cost of solar energy,” said Riley. “The SITN will also provide a channel to support the commercialization of new technologies created through the SunShot program.”

“It was very fulfilling to represent solar installers and solar instructors. These are the people who are physically changing our energy production systems around the country every time they install a system, or train someone to install a system,” said Matt Fedorko, project coordinator of the Penn State Northern Mid-Atlantic Solar Education and Resource Center. “I’m honored to be a part of this."

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Last Updated July 17, 2012