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

Fall 2018

CREATE Launches Energy Storage Project

For those watching the renewable energy sector, much of the recent news has focused on the rapid growth of energy storage technology paired with renewable generation.  Driven by cost reductions that mirror those of wind and solar, energy storage is becoming economical for many residential, commercial, and utility scale applications.  This trend was reflected in a recent survey of renewable energy educators conducted by CREATE.  Survey results indicated the two highest priorities for faculty professional development were solar photovoltaics and energy storage technology. 

To address this need, CREATE pursued and received a three year grant from the National Science Foundation (award # 1800893) to examine energy storage technology. The goal of the CREATE Energy Storage Project is to advance the field of renewable energy by supporting the integration of energy storage technology into existing two-year college programs.  This goal will be accomplished through four objectives:

1) Examining existing model energy storage education efforts already pioneered in European countries.

2) Conducting a Job Task Analysis and Curriculum Gap Analysis to identify critical knowledge and skills for technicians working with energy storage systems

3) Implementing pilot energy storage courses in a model teaching laboratory.

4) Providing professional development in energy storage for two-year college instructors through digital webinars, presentations, and workshops.

The CREATE Energy Storage Project will kickoff in 2019 with an international learning exchange between the U.S. and Germany.  A delegation of community college faculty leaders has been selected to represent the U.S.  The team will visit the German cities of Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Freiburg, and Munich while meeting with energy storage education and industry leaders.  Upon their return to the U.S., this team will be formulating recommendations for best practices in energy storage education to be shared with the larger renewable energy community.

  Solar Knowledge Library
 The Solar Institute at George Washington
 University has created a Solar Knowledge Library that provides videos about key solar energy topics, as well as links to additional resources. The videos are aimed at educating professionals that are not part of the solar industry but still play a key role in expanding solar deployment opportunities in the United States.  The library project was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative's Solar Training and Education for Professionals (STEP) program.   The STEP program enables solar training and education for professionals in indirect and related fields such as real estate, finance, insurance, fire and code enforcement, and state regulations, and has established new credentials in solar operations and maintenance. The Solar Knowledge Library aims to foster a workforce familiar with solar, to improve inspection compliance, expedite system permitting, reduce liability and insurance costs, and increase consumer confidence.

Educators Participate in the 2018
Summer Energy Educators Series (SEES)

Through the NSF-CREATE Center, Lane Community College's Energy Management Program has the honor of hosting community college and high school educators for a four-day workshop in Eugene, Oregon. The workshop focus is to demonstrate how the Lane Energy program teaches its energy management content, with a focus on using the college campus as a “hands-on” learning environment.

In June 2018, SEES entertained educators from around the country including the unique combination of the facility manager and a faculty member from Georgia Piedmont Technical College in Clarkston, GA., along with additional faculty members from Excelsior College in Albany, NY, College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, CA,  Cascadia College in Bothell, WA, and an adjunct faculty member and solar specialist from Legacy Solar-Co-Op in Fitchburg, WI. The backgrounds were varied ranging from Photovoltaics, to Building Automation Systems, to Environmental Studies, which always makes for an interesting workshop.

Participants heard from each of Lane's energy program instructors about how they teach a course, and why the content is valuable to the participants. The SEES workshop included every aspect of energy efficiency in buildings like Building Science, HVAC Systems, Lighting, Plug Loads, End Users (people) and the value of efficient systems to the renewable energy sector. The workshop included tours of the LCC main campus where the “hands-on“ course activities take place, along with tours of additional high performance buildings located on the University of Oregon Campus.  Participants reported that they were looking forward to taking what they learned and applying it back in their own schools and communities.

  Roger Ebbage
  Receives Award

CREATE Co-Principal Investigator Roger Ebbage has been recognized by the Association of Energy Engineers with the 2018 Energy Professional Development Award.  The award will be presented to Ebbage at the World Energy Engineering Congress in Charlotte, NC on October 16, 2018.  The award  is "presented to an individual for outstanding accomplishments in training and development of energy engineers and managers, and for superior service to the Association."

Roger has been the director of the Energy Management and Renewable Energy Program at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon, since 1992 and has made the program a national model for energy education. Roger founded and serves as Director of the Northwest Water and Energy Education Institute ( His duties as director include identifying energy-efficiency market trends, evaluating training programs, and providing technical expert consulting. Thanks to Roger’s efforts, many hundreds of students and faculty from the Pacific Northwest Region and from across the country have launched careers and started new educational programs in energy efficiency and energy management.

Book Published by CREATE Alumnus
Michael Ginsberg


Michael Ginsberg is a contributing author to a new book titled A Comprehensive Guide to Solar Energy Systems. The book is a research focused text on all aspects of solar energy engineering, examining the present state of solar technology, integration and worldwide distribution. In addition, the book provides a high-level assessment of the growth trends in photovoltaics and how investment, planning and economic infrastructure can support those innovations. Each chapter includes a research overview with a detailed analysis and new case studies that look at how recent research developments can be applied. Ginsberg's chapter examines the distinctive qualities of the US solar energy market, from general trends and federal policy to state developments, forecasts, and innovations.  Written by some of the most forward-thinking professionals, this book is a valuable reference for policymakers, engineers, technicians and educators in the solar energy industry.
Get Ready for the Kid Wind Challenge!

The 2018 KidWind Challenge national competition was held in May in Chicago at the WINDPOWER 2018 Conference & Exhibition with nearly 500 students, coaches and parents in attendance. It came right down the wire with everything from melting generators, to turbines that generated too much power for the system to measure, to scores so close that picking winners was nearly impossible!

Here were some of the other notable achievements this year:

  • 32 State Level KidWind Challenges in 24 states
  • 37 Educator Training Events, Over 800+ teachers trained in 33 states
  • 4000+ Students directly participated at KidWind Challenge Events
  • 400+ Online Challenge Submissions
  • $50,000+ in classroom wind equipment distributed
  • Overall impact from KidWind Challenge related activities = 35,000 students.
  • New KidWind State Challenges in Alaska, Califonia, South Carolina and even Belgium!
  • New Solar Structures Challenge piloted
The KidWind Challenge is the ultimate wind energy learning experience. Students discover the promise and limitations of wind energy technology while designing, building, and testing a functional wind turbine and competing with their peers in a supportive environment. Curious about what this looks like? Check out the Photos from the 2018 Kid Wind Challenge, and see this cool video from Apex Clean Energy:

The KidWind Challenge was developed in 2009 with support from leading energy industry companies, and has grown each year since its inception.  Teams seeking to compete this year can begin planning now, and can search for challenge events located near their school.  Kid Wind is also seeking Volunteers, Mentors, Partners and Corporate Sponsors to help produce the 2019 National Competition.  For information on how to get involved, go to
Program Profiles at

The CREATE Program Profiles highlight exemplary renewable energy courses and programs offered by community colleges across the U.S.  Last Year, CREATE focused on schools and faculty teaching Survey of Renewable Energy and Solar Phototovoltaics courses.  This semester we have profiled those teaching Energy Efficiency courses and programs.

Each Program Profile incorporates a rich digest of statistics and information, including program information, example syllabi, photos of instructional facilities, plus an interview with the lead faculty member and a honorable alumnus. Excerpts from the most recent energy efficiency profiles are included in this newsletter featuring faculty and alumni interviews. 

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

Energy Management Faculty Interview:
Jenny Brinker Northeast WI Technical College

Even from one conversation with Jenny Brinker, it is easy to see that she gets a lot of fulfillment in inspiring her students to make an impact beyond the classroom. She's worked hard to ensure that students in the Energy Management Program at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College help the community in addition to learning the skills they need for a variety of technical careers. Every year, students work with different non-profits to perform free energy audits and advise them on how to make their buildings more energy efficient. The program's latest community project was to assess the energy footprint of the Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin’s veterans building.
Although the program has been running strong for the last nine years, it hasn't been without its challenges. Keeping up with changing technology is hard, Brinker says. In the time that she's been leading the program, they've witnessed the changes of two very different lighting technologies and the integration of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Luckily, a strong advisory board helps the college to keep up with industry advances.
In January, the program moved to a newly dedicated net-zero energy building.  The state of the art facility was specifically designed to give students and instructors access to the building’s energy systems allowing them to analyze data and assess the building’s function.  Students also utilize the solar photovoltaic installation on the buildings roof, where they learn to install solar systems each semester.
When asked about advice for those aspiring to work in the energy industry Brinker says, "Stay positive, even at times when it's hard. The world of energy management and renewable energy is influenced by a lot of things. There are some days where you might be discouraged by what you read the news.  But stay passionate. It is the right thing to do.”
Madison College Installs 1.9 MW PV System

by Andrew Kicmol
A solar installation is nothing new, but the one at Madison College will be unique. It will be the largest rooftop system in Wisconsin.
When complete over 5,700 solar panels will generate 1.9 MegaWatts of electrical power.  “That is a large number of panels to visualize, but to put this in perspective it is roughly 20 semi-tractor trailers worth of equipment going on the roof,” said Ken Walz instructor of the renewable energy program at Madison College.
As part of the project, a new the ADA accessible doorway and ramp are being added to the roof to allow for teaching and tours. “Using our campus like a living lab, the new infrastructure will be used to teach students,” Walz said of having easy access to the system. The panels will be used for teaching the renewable energy program at Madison College.  Students will see how the solar panels work up close, will conduct annual inspections for wear and maintenance, and will read and interpret data to see if actual performance meets engineering projections. “Thanks to this new solar system, a lot of learning will happen in addition to the production of energy,” said Walz.
On a bright sunny day in July the solar panels will satisfy over half of the school’s electrical consumption.  Averaged over an entire year, the panels are projected to produce over 2,300,000 kWh per year, which will save the school about $200,000 annually. The solar panels are warrantied for 25 years, and the system could last for several years beyond that.
The reduction of Madison College’s energy footprint has been a multi-year process. The Truax building was once one of the biggest energy users in the entire state, consuming over 100,000 BTUs of energy per square foot.  Today the building uses only 40,000 BTUs per square foot -  making Truax one of the more energy efficient buildings in the Wisconsin Technical College System. The solar panels will be the icing on an energy efficient cake. “It’s been over 15 years of continuous energy improvements that led up to this big solar project,” said Walz.
The solar installation crew is led by Josh Ary, a Madison College alumnus, and several current electrical apprenticeship students have been working on the installation. The roofers and solar installers are working hard to get the project finished before the snow flies, and when complete Madison College will be ahead of the pack when it comes to renewable energy.
This article first appeared in the Clarion Student Newspaper at Madison College.
Technician Training in Advanced Building Performance Analysis and Verification
The small town of Pittsboro North Carolina (pop. 5,000) is about to get a lot bigger.  Located just minutes from Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham; Pittsboro has long served as a rural bedroom community for these nearby cities. But the construction of Chatham Park, a planned development that will house 50,000 people at full buildout, will undoubtedly bring many changes to this place.  Fortunately, with the support and funding from the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Small Grant program, Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) is hoping to ensure this community will be as energy efficient as possible.  

This project, titled “Technician Training in Advanced Building Performance Analysis and Verification,” will allow the college to expand the curricula of its Sustainability Technologies and Building Construction Technologies programs. The goal of the project is to provide technician skills, competencies, and hands-on experiences needed for employment in the fields of energy efficiency verification and building performance analysis. The project will include the recruitment of underrepresented populations into the program, the bolstering of existing curriculum to incorporate industry recognized third-party credentials, and internships and field experiences for students.

This project will directly benefit three groups — CCCC students, local industry, and the college. For student technicians, they will receive a value added educational experience with both institutional and third party credentialing, multiple avenues for success through educational pathways and stackable credentialing, and increased field experience.  Benefits to local construction industry, which is in dire need of qualified workers, include an increased pool of well-trained new employees, and the increased ease of hiring new employees with college credit training and industry specific, nationally recognized credentials.  CCCC will update curricula to better educate students interested in the field of energy analysis and performance verification, to strengthen connections between the college and local industry, and to address the technical education needs of underrepresented populations in the college's service area.

 “We feel the goals of the project — aligning our curriculum with nationally recognized certifications, strengthening our relationships with local industries, and creating new educational pathways — will all contribute to the success of our graduates. And that's what we're most excited about.” said Andrew McMahan, Chair of Sustainability at CCCC.

For more information on Central Carolina Community College, visit the college website at

  Solar for Code Officials

If you think online training has to be dry and boring, think again. In May, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) launched a new online interactive solar training series for local code officials, which developers say has a “This Old House” approach.  “There is a lot of important information in this training, so we created it to be enjoyable, not just informative,” says Kristen Ferguson, IREC’s associate director of training.

The new course is updated to the 2017 National Electrical Code and the most current international building, residential and fire codes.  The online student learns alongside IREC’s Joe Sarubbi, an experienced technical education, training and workforce development specialist, and CREATE National Visiting Committee member, as seasoned building and electrical inspectors guide him through the finer points of five different solar inspections, each highlighting different types of systems and technologies.

“This is an important learning opportunity for new and experienced code officials responsible for inspecting residential rooftop solar installations in local jurisdictions across the U.S.,” says IREC Workforce Development Director Laure-Jeanne Davignon. “Presented in an engaging, easy-to-watch video format that can be completed in just a handful of sessions, the training is geared for residential inspectors and useful for residential PV installers. This way, they are all on the same page with the most current building, safety and fire codes.”

“The PV Inspector Online Training course brings together a remarkable group of experienced PV system inspectors from across the country to present a wide variety of PV system types and technologies,” according to Rebekah Hren, a member of the NEC Code Making Panel. “The high quality videos, interspersed with key inspection takeaways and knowledge checks, make this training easily accessible and a thoroughly enjoyable learning experience.”

The online training was developed by IREC in conjunction with the International Association of Electrical Inspectors and International Code Council with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.

STEM Teachers Learn New Skills
at the CREATE 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, ten male and seven female high school and two year college teachers installed four residential size PV systems. Seeing the inverters connect to the grid and deliver power from the sun was a rewarding experience for everyone.


The participants also worked through several bench scale student activities focused on solar technology. 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 Current-Voltage (IV) curves for an individual module; and measuring voltage and current on small, battery-based systems. Participants also spent time planning how they would incorporate the material from the Solar Institute into their classes, and sharing ideas with their peers.
Participants learned a great deal over the three days, increasing their content knowledge measured by pre- and post-tests from 63 to 85%.  All 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:

“As an instructor of an Energy class, the institute took my understanding of PV systems well beyond my expectations. I came away with activities that I can implement immediately into my classroom, and it provided me the knowledge and skills to grow my energy program at my school that can be applied to several existing projects. “
The nex CREATE Solar Institute will be held in Madison, July 9-11, 2019. Information and applications can be found at
PV Materials Available for Download

Curriculum and Instructional materials from the CREATE Solar Institutes have been made available on the website  The files include lab activities, teacher lesson plans, student assessments, answer keys, and cross reference documents for both the Next Generation Science Standards and the DOE Energy Literacy Standards.  Files have been made available as open source documents using a Creative Commons- Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-Alike License.  All materials are available as both Adobe PDF files (to preserve original appearance, formatting, and pagination), and as MS Word files (for easy modification, editing, and customization by teachers).  

Tunxis Community College Energy Management Alumni Profile

Kyle Kalisz began his education as a business major at Tunxis Community College, but after two semesters, he knew it was not the path he wanted to follow. Fortunately, while gathering information about possible new fields or study, he heard about the Energy Management Program at Tunxis. And after one phone call with Eric Gribin, the Program Director, Kalisz was ready to give the program a try.
Kalisz grew more interested with each class he took. The program touched on topics ranging from basic thermodynamics, heat transfer, and solar energy, to more advanced topics such as the energy utilization index, 10-year cash flows, building automation systems, and much more. The energy management field "[is] the best of both worlds for me. Half the time in the office, the other half in the field", said Kalisz.
Since graduating, Kalisz has been working with Total Energy Connections, in the Small Business Energy Advantage Program (SBEA), helping small businesses in Connecticut save energy and money on their utility bills. In the future, Kalisz would like to work with a larger energy company to tackle bigger commercial and industrial scale projects.  Eventually, Kalisz would like to return to school to get his mechanical engineering degree; and as a long term goal he has considered working for the Connecticut Department of Energy.
His advice for future students in energy efficiency is to relax and take your time to think things through. If you follow what you're taught, and approach problem solving in a methodical way, you'll do great work and the people that you serve will benefit!
"Oh, and one last thing NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK!"  


The CREATE Update

Calendar Events

Join us for a CREATE webinar with the
Solar Training Network 
Friday, November 16th, at 12 PM EST
The solar industry's greatest resource
(besides the sun!) is its workforce.
The Solar Training Network improves understanding of the solar jobs landscape, shares tools for workforce development, and facilitates solar career connections.

On this webinar, we will discuss the recently published resource: Strategies for Solar Workforce Development: A Toolkit for the Industry,  past research published in the 2017 Solar Training and Hiring insights report, and relevant findings in the annual National Solar Jobs Census. We will also tour the recently remodeled online solar career platform and explore how it can support stakeholder collaboration at regional and national scales. 

Our goal is to provide all solar workforce development stakeholders, particularly training providers and employers, with knowledge and tools to lead regional efforts to meet local solar workforce demands. 

To Register for the FREE webinar email Gabrielle Temple at :

CREATE Solar PV Institutes

The Solar PV Institute is a three-day, intensive professional development workshop for educators 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 several working 1.6 kW grid connected PV systems
  • 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 NREL online tool PV Watts to estimate annual energy production
  • Making a lesson plan to incorporate workshop material into a STEM class
  • $450 stipend
  • Travel lodging and meals provided
  • One graduate credit is available
For more information about the Summer 2019 Solar PV Institutes and to submit your application, please visit the CREATE webpage at 

Wisconsin Solar PV Institute
July 9-11, 2019, Madison Area Technical College, Madison, WI

CREATE Summer Energy Educator Series (SEES)

June 24-28, 2019 - 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.
Dates, application forms, and additional information for the Summer 2019 SEES workshop will be available before the new year on the CREATE web page at

June 2019 National Science Foundation Grant Writing Workshop

Workshop Focus: The emphasis of the workshop is on learning more about the NSF Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program and how to apply for funding most effectively. Faculty must propose a specific project to improve an ATE-eligible technical program in a one page statement of interest. Teams of two are encouraged. Statements of interest will be reviewed and accepted on a first come first accepted basis. Workshop activities will include informational presentations; planning and writing sessions with help from mentors who have had extensive experience with ATE and NSF; and time to network with colleagues from similar institutions around the country. Each college will be assigned an experienced mentor to aid them until they submit a grant.

When: Arrival, Sunday June 9th for evening dinner and orientation then Workshop starts Monday, June 10 through Wednesday at noon, June 12. Participants will be expected to arrive late afternoon or evening on the 9th and the workshop activities will end by noon on the 12th. Detailed travel arrangements will be provided after workshop acceptance.

Eligibility: Full-time STEM discipline faculty from two-year colleges. Two faculty per college are eligible and teams of two are encouraged.

Costs: Travel (up to $500) and accommodation/food costs will be covered by grant for up to 50 participants (up to 2 per institution).

Stipends and Support: Each participant will be eligible for a stipend 
(in addition to travel costs) at the completion of the workshop. An additional stipend will be available after the submission of an ATE proposal in the October 2018 competition.

Ongoing Support: The mentor who works with you at the workshop will continue throughout the year to support your efforts to write a complete proposal. This will include creating post-workshop milestones, webinars, suggesting resources, and providing feedback both for proposal writing and in the award process.

CREATE co-PI Kathy Alfano is also co-PI for this Workshop project. The application is available now through Dr. Rick Breault at If you would like to ask questions, please contact Kathy at

Energy Institute for Teachers: July 15-19, 2019

The National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) Energy Institute for Teachers is a five-day workshop that offers educators lessons and resources to integrate renewable energy and energy efficiency components into existing courses 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 multimeters
  • Determining the optimal form of lighting based on a bulb's brightness, cost, and energy consumption
  • Chemically producing biodiesel fuel and performing quality control viscosity tests
  • Meeting scientists and touring the world class facilities at NREL.

Program Requirements

  • Participate in the one week summer program.
  • Implement one lesson in the fall or spring.
  • Local teachers receive a stipend of $250.
  • Teachers living 50+ miles away receive five nights of lodging.
  • $250 for submission of completed lesson plan.
  • $300 follow-up fall implementation.
  • Receive resource books and materials.
  • Receive graduate credit available through the Colorado School of Mines.

If you are interested in applying, contact Linda Lung.

CREATE Webinars
CREATE will be continuing our webinar series in 2018/19. Planned topics 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.

The 2017 CREATE webinars from the Environmental Defense Fund and Meister Consultants Group on the report Now Hiring:  The Growth of America's Clean Energy and Sustainability Jobs, and from the Solar Foundation on the Solar Training Network and Solar Hiring Insights, are available for download at:   

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 © 2018 College of the Canyons, All rights reserved.

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