Center for Renewable Energy Advanced Technological Education
NSF ATE Award # 1600934

Fall 2017

Teachers go GREEN at Shoreline Community College Solar Workshop

Shoreline Community College’s Clean Energy Technology program hosted eight area middle and high school teachers at the first annual Washington STEM Educator Solar Institute held on Shoreline’s campus August 8-10.

The program is designed to give hands-on training in solar technology to area instructors and to provide Institute participants with techniques to teach solar energy in their classrooms in effective, engaging ways.

Participants learned about basic solar principles, became familiar with photovoltaic (PV) technology by installing a PV system on the college’s solar training roof, and developed a solar PV laboratory lesson for use in their classrooms.

“I’m always looking for current, hands-on material that is going to excite my students,” said Craig Patterson, a middle school math and science teacher who participated in this year’s institute. “And in my experience, middle-school aged kids are very into solar – it’s like magic to them – so the Solar Institute is great because it’s taught me concepts that I can easily bring back into the classroom and use to engage and foster my students’ interest in green energy.”

“Solar technology is a booming industry in the Puget Sound region,” said Louise Petruzzella, Director of the Clean Energy Technology program at Shoreline. “As the go-to institution for clean energy training in the region, it’s very important to us to offer resources and learning opportunities for STEM educators who can offer their students a look into the techniques, the technology, and the industry and to open their eyes to a potential career they may not have thought about.”

Patterson is already thinking about how he can incorporate the techniques learned at the institute into his middle school curriculum for fall. “The technology I learned at the institute has a lot of applications for the scientific method and the engineering design process. I’m excited to think about having students assemble a PV system and make predictions about how it’s going to behave and to systematically test it under different conditions. And it’s scalable – lots of room to match your curriculum to your resources and your students’ interests.”

Highlighted Renewable Energy Faculty of the Semester: Louise Petruzzella - Shoreline Community College
By Samantha Joson
Like many in the renewable energy industry, Louise Petruzzella, the director and lead faculty for the Clean Energy Technology program at Shoreline Community College in Washington, didn't always start out working in or teaching about renewables.
Petruzzella was a comparative religion and philosophy instructor in higher education before starting her journey in the renewable energy industry. She moved to Washington in the summer of 2009, but after having a hard time finding teaching jobs in her prior discipline, went to work for a construction crew using the experience she gained from working in construction during college. Long story short, the recession put Petruzzella out of work and back in school where she found SCC's Clean Energy Technology program.
Unlike many in the renewable energy industry, Petruzzella is a graduate of the program she now heads.
"I started as a student in January of 2012 and I've been serving as the full-time Director since October 2014, and I've been teaching as a part-time faculty since September 2013." She started teaching part-time in the program when another instructor left, but saw that students "maybe weren't getting as much as they could out of their experience in the program." Petruzzella attributed that to an observed deficit of institutional support.  She became a full-time administrator after talking to the Dean about testing it out as a means to strengthen the program. Three years later, she's still the program director.
Under her direction, the program has taken a different course than its original one, mostly due to the economic policy changes the solar industry was facing in Washington at the time. In response, the program shifted to a broader approach focusing on building sciences and looking at buildings as a whole.
"We're teaching students currently how to design systems for the entire building. So not only renewables — solar in particular —  but looking at systems within the building: electrical, plumbing, heating, installation and how to design those systems with energy efficiency in mind."
The program did face some challenges from upper administration in its early days. However, the program has been able to develop support from the college administration by having a highly engaged advisory committee with broad industry representation and by consistently placing students in the workforce.

World Energy Trends
By Wilson Rickerson, Converge Strategies
In the Spring 2017 CREATE newsletter, we reported on global renewable energy market projections for 2016. The final figures are now in and 2016 broke records, with 161 GW of new renewable energy capacity installed. The biggest story was solar photovoltaic (PV), with 75 gigawatts (GW) installed (vs. a 60 GW projected) for a cumulative total of 303 GW worldwide. China led the world with 34 GW installed in 2016, followed in second place by the U.S. at 14.8 GW installed. Over 55 GW of wind power were also added, for a total of 487 GW around the world. In total, $242 billion was invested in renewable energy in 2016 – and the amount of capital invested in renewable electricity capacity was more than double that of fossil fuel generating capacity for the fifth year running.

The market for energy storage was also highly dynamic in 2016. There was more than 156 GW of grid-connected storage around the world. The vast majority of this capacity, 150 GW, is pumped hydro storage. Another 3.1 GW of this total is from thermal storage (mostly molten salt storage at concentrated solar power plants), and electro-mechanical storage (e.g. flywheels) accounted for an additional 1.6 GW.

There are only 1.7 GW of battery electric storage capacity installed, but batteries are the fastest growing source of storage. Of the global total, 35% (or 0.6 GW) was installed in 2016 alone. The U.S. leads the world in terms of battery installations, with 221 MW/336 MWh of battery capacity installed in 2016. Close to 80% of the U.S. market is utility-scale storage, driven largely by dramatic price declines and by California policy. California established a requirement in 2010 that electric utilities procure 1.3 GW of storage by 2020. The state expanded the target by an additional 500 MW in 2016. The state also required utilities to install approximately 60 MW of batteries in 2016 as an emergency response to the massive San Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility leak. It is projected that the U.S. market will grow to 2.6 GW annually by 2022, led by California, Arizona, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, and Texas, and that cumulative storage investment will be $11 billion during 2017-2022.

The largest battery storage markets outside the U.S. in 2016 were South Korea, Japan, and Germany. Unlike the U.S., Germany saw rapid growth in the residential market, where combined solar and storage systems are becoming more common. In 2016, more than half of all residential PV systems in Germany were paired with storage – up from 14% in 2014.

In addition to the market for stationary storage, another major driver for battery storage was the electric vehicles (EV) market. Over 775,000 EVs were sold in 2016, for a total of 2 million vehicles on the road by the end of the year. China and the U.S. led the world in total global sales. Norway led the world in EV market penetration, with EVs accounting for roughly 29% of all new passenger vehicle registrations in 2016. It is projected that the EV market will expand to between 9 million and 20 million vehicles by 2020 and to between 40 million and 70 million by 2025.

Statistics from this article come from the REN21 Renewables 2017 Global Status Report, unless otherwise noted

Teachers Shine at the Madison College Solar Institute 
The STEM Educator Solar Institute in Madison, WI gathered sixteen participants to spend three days learning the science and technology of solar photovoltaics (PV). After learning about the basic components of the systems, eight male and seven female high school and middle school teachers and one state department trainer installed four full, working PV systems. Seeing the inverters connect to the grid and start delivering power from the sun was a rewarding experience for everyone.
The participants then worked through four student lab activities they can incorporate into their classes. These included testing the voltage, current and irradiance of individual PV modules at various angles and shading; using a Solar Pathfinder shading analysis tool; mapping a Current-Voltage (IV) curve for an individual module; and measuring voltage and current on small, battery-based systems. The participants received sample lesson plans which they can adapt for their own classes and were given time during the workshop to plan how they might incorporate the material from the Institute into their classes.
Participants learned a great deal over the three days, increasing their content knowledge measured by pre- and post-tests from 60 to 86%.   100% of the participants reported that as a result of the workshop they were more likely to include renewable energy concepts in the courses that they teach, and that they were more likely to seek our similar renewable energy educational experiences in the future.   One participant wrote, “Great workshop, great instructors and excellent support for everything. I will be using many of the presented activities with my classes.” Another participant indicated that the format provided superior professional development training:

“Excellent course! I stepped outside of my comfort zone and was pleasantly surprised! … Excellent lessons and hands-on applications, as well as excellent resources… [It was] among the best Professional Development that I've ever been a part of - thank you!”
The Solar Institute will be held again in Madison July 10-12, 2018. Information and applications can be found at

Renewable Energy Faculty get their Energy Efficiency Vegetables at CREATE’s Summer Energy Education Series (SEES)
The saying goes, you must have your energy efficiency vegetables before you have your renewable energy dessert. Simply, it means - do energy efficiency first to reduce your electric demand so the size of your renewable energy system is smaller. Make sense?
Thirteen community college instructors from across the US came to Lane Community College (LCC) in Eugene, Oregon, at the end of June to learn from Lane’s Energy Management program faculty about teaching energy efficiency. The week-long SEES program highlighted energy fundamentals as they relate to energy efficiency in the built environment. Participants discovered the energy of lighting, heating and cooling systems, the building envelope, and the human contribution to efficiency. Lane faculty discussed the why and how of teaching energy efficiency highlighted by fieldwork on the LCC Campus and took participants on tours of buildings showing appropriate (and not so appropriate) design. Participants used micro-dataloggers and other tools to evaluate system operations and building temperatures to determine levels of efficiency. Each course in the Lane program was profiled by the respective course instructors, and participants were encouraged to stay in contact and continue communication with follow up questions after the SEES workshop as needed.
Ramona Anand, Project Coordinator at Lorain County Community College in Ohio said of the program “The entire experience was nothing short of extraordinary. The workshop was outstanding, well organized, and a great learning experience. Thank you for your attention to details and thoughtful care. You absolutely outdid yourself to make me feel comfortable and welcomed. 

Student Alumni of the Semester: Michael Reuter, Madison Area Technical College
By Samantha Joson
Michael Reuter's passion for renewable energy started before he even found the Renewable Energy program at Madison Area Technical College. Reuter had his first foray in the field with an internship with Earthship Biotecture, a company dedicated to building off-grid, net-zero housing out of recycled materials, while he was in high school. Reuter says that the potential for self sufficiency and to not rely on the grid really struck his interest. 

Once his internship ended, Reuter moved on to the architectural technology program at MATC. Eventually, he found the Renewable Energy program and began working on his certificate at the same time he was working on his AA-degree for architectural technology.

One course in the program he says was particularly influential is Renewable Energy For International Development. For the class, Reuter took a trip to Costa Rica and had the opportunity to help install a solar system.  

"That was a really, really valuable course for me. It gave me hands on experience in stuff that I had never worked with before. It also gave me exposure to people in the industry like Ian Woofenden," he says, "I learned a lot in that experience and I also learned a lot of what small solar systems can mean to people but also what it can mean when you try to influence your western ideals into a developing country."

Reuter credits the Renewable Energy program for giving him the knowledge and the opportunities that "set [him] up for success" and that after finishing the program and getting his certificate the rest of the battle was just "trying to find a company that was a good fit."

After graduating from MATC in 2014, Reuter tried to do just that. That's when he started working for Ethos Green Power based in Viroqua, WI, Reuter's home town. With Ethos Green Power, Reuter worked in the renewable energy credit market, buying, selling and trading credits "trying to create consumer based markets."

But due to the political climate regarding renewable energy in Wisconsin at the time, the company was forced to shift its focus from the renewable energy credit market to system design and installation — a shift that Reuter essentially led.


 Today,  Reuter works for Midwest Solar Power, designing and installing solar systems back in Madison. He does system quotes, designs, and structural analysis for packages, just to name a few things. Though the company may be small (three people including Reuter), they have done over 100 system installations in the Madison area.

 "I honestly wouldn't be where I am today without doing both programs, architectural technology and the renewable energy certificate program at the same time," says Reuter. "The architectural technology program gave me my construction background but then all the courses that I took through the renewable energy certificate program gave me my basis of understanding of solar electric systems."

Introduction to Renewable Energy Program Profiles Now Available at
CREATE is beginning a series of Program Profiles in order to fulfill the request of the renewable energy faculty we serve for additional resources to help them improve or begin renewable energy programs. The Program Profiles will highlight model courses embedded in different types of community college programs. In Fall 2017, the featured course will be Introduction to Renewable Energy.

Each Program Profile incorporates a rich digest of statistics and information on the program including the syllabus plus an interview with the lead faculty member and an exemplary alumnus. While one Program Profile will be featured in the CREATE biannual newsletter, a total of three separate programs per featured course will be available as resources on the CREATE website. Introduction to Solar will be featured in Spring of 2018.

To view the Introduction to Renewable Energy Program Profiles and Syllabi please visit the CREATE website at We welcome feedback and recommendations on additional courses you would like to see featured. Please email Gabrielle Temple at:

The Solar Foundation Launches Online Career Platform
by Colin Nackerman, The Solar Foundation

Despite the 25% job growth in the past year, connecting qualified recent graduates with jobs in the solar industry remains an ongoing challenge. Joe Sarubbi discussed this trend in the previous newsletter and since then, the Solar Training Network has launched a free career platform at

The new web platform creates a unique space for facilitating and strengthening career connections (think LinkedIn just for solar). After a quick and simple registration, members have access to our map and directory of employers, trainers, and career resource centers. Jobseekers can upload a resume, indicate their experience level and the types of jobs they’re looking for, and quickly locate training providers and solar employers nationwide. In the last few months, over 1,200 students, trainers, employers, and workforce development professionals have joined the network.

Students and jobseekers are using the website every day to find local training opportunities, and a few have even reached out to let us know that they’ve found employment. Solar companies and recruiting firms actively browse our database to find quality candidates. We field phone calls from employers asking for a dozen installers, or a small company looking for new sales staff, and we refer them to the candidate directory where they can sort by particular skills, years of solar experience, find veterans looking for solar careers, and more. Even better, we invite companies and jobseekers to attend our nationwide career fairs and trainer summits to network in person. Check out our events calendar and join us.

We recently published a report on solar industry training and workforce trends. Based on our data, we created an index to predict which states will likely require the most training and workforce development resources in the coming years. One of the most compelling, but not surprising findings indicated that greater investment in training leads to lower labor costs. Ultimately, $10 million could be saved annually by decreasing the number of call backs by 1%, underscoring the value of a well-trained workforce to get the job done right. The full report and useful graphics are available here.

With low barriers to entry, and bright prospects for advancement and wage increase, solar energy is a growing source of good jobs. Looking forward, we’re working hard to develop substantial tools and resources to support development of a solid workforce pipeline. We’re developing a solar internship toolkit to help trainers and companies set up their own internship programs, as well as a toolkit to help stakeholders better take advantage of the resources that workforce development boards can provide. In a few months, these will be free for members to use.

The effectiveness of the tools we provide is largely dependent on industry participation, Our network has been expanding every day, and we invite you to be involved by putting your school on the map and encourage your students to do the same. Together we’ll strengthen the solar workforce, and send qualified graduates on their way toward bright and powerful careers.


Solar Industry Videos by George Washington University Solar Institute
Two videos were developed by the George Washington University Solar Institute with funding from the Department of Energy SunShot Initiative to help supplement the work of the Solar Training Network program. These videos can be used  to help educate the workforce about the many opportunities available in the solar industry, and especially about the hard work involved in being a solar installer.

To watch the video on
Solar Career Opportunities visit:

To watch the video on What Does it Take to be a Solar Installer? visit:

The CREATE Update

Calendar Events

Webinar: Energy Storage for Rural Affordable Housing: The McKnight Lane Redevelopment Project

September 27, 2017

1:00pm — 2:00pm ET

This webinar will provide operational and economic updates on the McKnight Lane Redevelopment Project, a rural solar+storage affordable housing project that has been in operation since October 2016. The all-electric, net-zero homes demonstrate how behind-the-meter solar PV and battery storage systems can bring economic benefits and energy security to tenants, while simultaneously enabling utilities to manage peak energy demand and reduce costs for all customers.


  • Peter Schneider, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC)
  • Craig Ferreira, Green Mountain Power
  • Todd Olinsky-Paul, Clean Energy States Alliance (moderator)

This webinar is presented by CESA for the Energy Storage Technology Advancement Partnership (ESTAP). ESTAP is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Electricity and Sandia National Laboratories.

To Register:

CREATE Summer Energy Educator Series (SEES)

June 24-28, 2018 - Lane Community College - Eugene, Oregon

For a Renewable Energy Program to be most successful, energy efficiency is an essential component. Far too many programs don’t give energy efficiency enough consideration in overall program development. Why do we need to teach our students about energy efficiency? Because, if energy efficiency is not addressed upfront in the design of a renewable energy project, much larger energy systems will be needed to make up for the energy lost through inefficient processes and ineffective building operation.
The CREATE SEES one-week workshop provides participants with commercial building energy efficiency training to assist with the development of courses and programs. The SEES workshop will be taught by faculty and staff from Lane Community College. Lane is home to the longest running Energy Management Program in the US and has helped many colleges start energy related programs.
The SEES workshop will include:
  • Residential and commercial energy efficiency course content. Including curriculum, activities, and experience with course development.
  • Using your campus as a teaching tool (Living Lab).
  • Tools required for a successful energy auditing course.
  • The opportunity to network with other energy educators interested in developing similar courses.
Additional  information about the Summer 2018 SEES workshop and to submit your application after the new year, will be available on CREATE web page at
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Energy Institute for Teachers July 16-20, 2018
Join the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in an exciting teacher opportunity. The Energy Institute blends renewable energy and energy efficiency components into existing courses that the teachers are already instructing in subjects ranging from chemistry and physics to biology and environmental science classes.

During the week long workshop, teachers participate in a variety of activities tied to NREL research including:
• Building and testing wind turbine blades utilizing multi-meters and water pumps
• Testing solar panels creating current voltage curves using rheostats and multi meters
• Determining the optimum form of lighting based on the bulb’s brightness, its cost and its power requirements
• Chemically producing biodiesel fuel and performing quality control viscosity tests
• Meeting staff scientists and touring the world class National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Who: Middle and High School STEM Teachers
When: July 16-20 from 8:00 am-4:30pm
Where: NREL Education Center, 15013 Denver West Parkway, Golden, CO 80401
Program Requirements:
• Participate in the 1 week summer program
• Implement one lesson in the fall 2018 or spring 2019
• Stipend: $250 for the 1 week program if local
• For non-local participants (outside of 50 miles of NREL) Lodging is paid at the Marriott ($900) $250 for submission of completed lesson plan
• $300 follow up implementation
• Resources: books and materials
• Credit: Credit available through Colorado School of Mines
Applications will open in January 2018.
Questions? Please contact Linda Lung at:
CREATE Solar PV Institutes

The Solar PV Institute is a three-day, intensive professional development workshop for high school teachers interested in teaching students about solar photovoltaic technology. The institute emphasizes hands-on experience working with solar equipment and tools.

Participants will engage in lab activities that science and technical education teachers can use to integrate solar technology into their existing courses. The Institute is led by a team of community college and high school instructors with expertise in both solar photovoltaic technology and STEM curriculum design.
The workshop includes:
  • Constructing a full, working PV system
  • Using a solar pathfinder to assess sites for locating a solar system
  • Measuring the output of a solar module to produce an IV curve
  • Using the online tool PV Watts to estimate annual energy production
  • Making a lesson plan to incorporate workshop material into a STEM class
  • $300 stipend
  • Travel lodging and meals provided
  • One graduate credit is available
For more information about the Summer 2018 Solar PV Institutes and to submit your application, please visit the CREATE webpage after the new year at 

Wisconsin Solar PV Institute
July 9-12, 2018, Madison Area Technical College, Madison, WI

Washington Solar PV Institute
Dates TBD, Shoreline Community College, Shoreline, WA

Maine Solar PV Institue
Dates TBD, Maine Maritime Academy, Castine, ME
2017-2018 CREATE Webinars
This fall, CREATE will be continuing our webinar series. Planned topics for this year include Solar Photovoltaics, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy Employment, and the German Energy Transition. Please visit the CREATE website and sign up for our email list to get updates as speakers and dates are announced.
Contact us at:
 Kenneth A. Walz, Ph.D.
 CREATE Principal Investigator
 Madison Area Technical College
 1701 Wright Street
 Madison, WI  53704-2599
 Office: (608) 246-6521

Gabrielle Temple
CREATE Project Manager
College of the Canyons
26455 Rockwell Canyon Road
Santa Clarita, CA 91355
(661) 362-3024

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1600934. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect those of the National Science Foundation.
Copyright © 2017 College of the Canyons, All rights reserved.

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