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Photovoltaic installation training to be offered by KCC

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Posted: Saturday, November 20, 2010 11:45 pm

LIHU‘E — In an effort to create a clean energy workforce that will help meet the growing demand for photovoltaic energy systems, Kaua‘i Community College and WorkWise Kaua‘i have paired to create a new program that offers training and certification in commercial and residential installation.

Clean energy representatives at the 2010 Kaua‘i Energy Conference on Thursday said renewable energy is one of Hawai‘i’s leading economic sectors and that the state is number two in the nation in photovoltaic systems.

With a grant from the state energy sector and in partnership and with Kaua‘i Workforce Investment Board, photovoltaics was identified it as one of the high-demand job areas and was slated as a workforce development project for Kaua‘i.

The eight-week entry level course will help prepare students for the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) exam for a PV installation certification.

The program costs $4,650, but Bill Grier, branch manager of WorkWise Kaua‘i, said it may be free for qualifying displaced workers.

Friday, KCC’s training coordinator Tracy Hirano said the college is still working on putting their not-for-credit class schedule together, but it should be ready in early December, and it will instruct students on how to register for the program.

Classes will have a capacity of 50 students and will begin sometime between Jan. 10 and Jan. 15, Grier said. It will meet on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. “to give working folks a chance to attend.”  Total class time will be approximately 40 hours.

NABCEP’s website says the PV entry level exam is a way for candidates to demonstrate that they have achieved a basic knowledge of the fundamental principles of the application, design, installation and operation of grid-tied and stand-alone PV systems, but it should not be confused with certified PV installers.

“The latter can only be achieved by highly experienced individuals who have passed a much more rigorous examination and have demonstrated the capability to supervise complete PV system installations, and who have a detailed working knowledge of the electrical codes, standards and accepted industry practice associated with PV installations.”

An entry level PV installer can expect to earn between $10 and $20 per hour.

“We haven’t finalized everything yet,” Hirano said. “Before the schedule comes out,  we’ll take the names and contact information for those interested...We anticipate electricians will be very interested.”

For additional information, contact WorkWise Kaua‘i at 274-3056 or KCC at  245-8318.

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