Get Schooled in Renewable Energy: Green Education Courses in California, North Carolina

photo: Solar Living Institute

One of the certain things in renewable energy is that more and more people are interested in getting in on the act, from a careers perspective. In the two days of Solar Power International so far you can't wander far without overhearing a conversation about someone who has attended looking to change career and get a job in the solar industry.

To that end, a couple of organizations have sent up booths promoting their renewable energy education programs. Two of these are the Solar Living Institute in California, and North Carolina State University's Renewable Energy Technologies Diploma Series. Want to know more about renewable energy, but don't want to commit to a degree program? These may be for you:

Solar Living Institute

We've briefly mentioned the Solar Living Institute on TreeHugger before, but here's a bit more on some of the courses currently being offered. From their course catalog:

PV Design & Installation Intensive
A five day, hands-on course, costing $750,

This workshop provides a great foundation for those looking to find employment in the ever expanding PV market, as well as for homeowners who want to immerse themselves in the concepts.

Intro to Off Grid Systems
This two day course will set you back $250,
Are you ready to declare you energy independence by taking an active role in installing your own residential of commercial off-grid renewable energy system? This two-day workshop provides an introduction to off-grid solar, wind and hydroelectric systems, which—individually or in tandem—allow homeowners to generate electricity without dependence on the utility grid.

In addition to these two courses, the course catalog covers a wide range of green topics, from "How to Build a Straw Bale House", to "Build Your Own Biodiesel Processor", to "Ecological Urban Gardening". More information is available: Solar Living Institute.

NC State Renewable Energy Technologies Diploma

The NC State diploma program is a bit more serious, in terms of time commitment, than the stand-alone courses offered by the Solar Living Institute. Program participants complete 105 contact hours and cover a range of renewable energy topics. To complete the diploma you take three of the following four courses, in any order.

Renewable Energy 1 covers Solar and Radiant Heating (the next class is offered December 1-5 of this year). Renewable Energy 2 tackles the "Basics of Business and Technology of Biofuels and Photovoltaics" of which you choose one of the two. The third course in the series, appropriately titled Renewable Energy 3, covers green building and solar thermal. Renewable Energy 4 covers the Basics of Renewable Energy in the first two days, and then either 3 days of photovoltaics or 3 days on wind power.

Each course costs $1399 ($749 if you're a North Carolina resident); you are eligible for a 10% discount if you're a small business owner. More info is available from NC State.

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