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

Fall 2019

CREATE Alumni Authors 2nd PV Book

CREATE alumni and Author Michael Ginsberg is a LEED AP O+M, CEM, and NABCEP PV Associate, holds an MS in Sustainability Management from Columbia University, and is a Doctor of Engineering candidate at Columbia University specializing in solar energy integration to the electrical grid. In his work with the U.S. Department of State, Michael has performed technical analyses of large-scale solar installs on U.S. compounds worldwide, and trained nearly 1,000 engineers and technicians in renewable energy and building systems at U.S. embassies in West Africa, South America, the Middle East, and Europe. 


Drawing on global case studies, this book details how to achieve optimal PV power output in the field through an overview of basic electrical systems, the solar PV module and balance of system, and processes and software for monitoring, measurement and verification. It also provides an overview of the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioner’s (NABCEP) new PV System Inspector credential, which will be outlined in the final chapter. Equipping the reader with the knowledge and confidence required to maximize the output of solar PV installations, Solar Photovoltaic Power Optimization will be an essential resource for PV practitioners and students.

Featured Faculty: Steve Hrkach, Laramie County Community College
The very first time Steve Hrkach saw wind turbines, he was in the Air Force, driving through the Mojave Desert, and, in his words, he “was mesmerized”. When he retired as an electromechanical technician, he gave being a wind technician a shot. 
Steve first went through the Wind Technology program at Laramie Community College as a student, and after graduating enjoyed several successful years working as a wind technician in industry.  In the fall of 2017, he returned to where it all started, putting his skills and education to good use as a new wind instructor at Laramie.
"Obviously we want to give technicians the skills they need, but one of the things we emphasize in this program is teaching students to think critically," Hrkach says. "Much of what we teach here are technical skills, but we must also instill the right attitude for our graduates to be successful in the workplace."  
Although the wind program at Laramie is quite successful, it's not without its challenges. Hrkach says that having a diverse population of students is definitely a plus, but sometimes it can be difficult for a student to start from scratch if they do not have a background in fundamental mechanical and electrical concepts. 
"When I see students picking up information quickly,  I  try to pair those students in the laboratory with less experienced students who otherwise might struggle," Steve says,  "If we can have our more accomplished students assisting the beginners, then they can cooperate with each other and everyone’s learning is elevated."  
From the results, it seems to be a great approach.
"One of the most rewarding things that happens after a student graduates is the call back saying, 'Thanks for training me, I'm progressing fast'”, says Hrkach.  “Those are moments where I recognize that, 'Yeah, we have a really successful program here.'"
Wind Program Profiles Now Available 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, Solar Photovoltaics and Energy Efficiency courses.  This semester we have profiled those teaching Wind Energy and Power Generation 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:
CREATE Launches New SCADA Project

Thank you to the National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program for affording us this opportunity through the recent grant award: Improving the Integration of Supervisory Controls and Data Acquisition (SCADA) Technologies into the Renewable Energy Sector.

CREATE, NextEra Energy, and the Regional Center for Nuclear Education and Training (RCNET), are working to advance renewable energy education by enabling faculty leaders to integrate SCADA into existing energy technician educational programs.  SCADA technology is of crucial importance to the electric industry to manage the extraordinary growth in renewable energy installations, while also ensuring the security and resilience of our nation's electric grid. SCADA systems allow engineering technicians to control systems in real time, and log data for monitoring of system performance. SCADA data analytics allow for system optimization, preventive maintenance scheduling, and for rapid detection and correction of faults and alarms to prevent or minimize system downtime. 


An educational open source SCADA system is currently being created by NextEra Energy, Florida International University and Indian River State College that will be deployed and shared among participating colleges and universities nationwide. Technician education in SCADA technology will be advanced through a series of professional development workshops for college and university faculty, and SCADA instructional activities will be integrated into existing courses and curricula for undergraduate energy technician education programs.


More information will be available on the CREATE website and in upcoming newsletters.  We also welcome your advanced expressions of interest in these professional development opportunities.

Featured Alumnus: Jessie Moffitt Iowa Community College 
Since graduating from the Sustainable Energy Resources and Technologies program at Iowa Lakes Community College in May, Jessie Moffitt's been crushing her job as a wind technician with Siemens. 
"I get to work outside and I like climbing around like a monkey," she jokes. "I like to work with my hands. I like problem solving." 
It's pretty clear to see now that renewables are a great fit for Jessie, but she didn't always know she wanted to enter the industry. It wasn't until she was about to graduate from a different college that she happened to hear Dan Lutat talking about the program on NPR and decided to explore it. 
"He was talking about wind energy and wind technicians, and I'd never heard of that as a job. He started talking about how they're looking for people with a strong background in mathematics and physics, which I had," she says. "The more he explained about their program and the job itself, the more excited I got." 
Jessie says that excitement only grew the more she researched the program. Pretty soon, she was Iowa Lakes CC's newest student. 
"The teachers are really great there. They really do care about their students. They put in a lot of effort to help you understand what you're doing. They all knew what they were talking about too. They'd all been in the field." 
CREATE Faculty Study Energy Storage In Germany
“Renewable Energy 24-7 !“  This was the theme of the SmarterE Europe Conference held this past May in Munich, Germany.  The SmarterE conference is now the largest energy event in Europe, and it attracted 1354 exhibitors and over 50,000 professionals from 162 countries in the wind, solar, electric transportation, and energy storage industries.   The three-day conference and exhibition filled over a million square feet of exhibition space at the MesseMunich Convention Center.  Of course, Energy Storage is essential for renewable energy to provide power 24-7, and energy storage technology had a huge presence at the SmarterE conference. 
CREATE sponsored a delegation of 16 educators from the U.S. to attend the SmarterE conference as part of a 12-day International Learning Exchange in Germany.  In addition to the time spent in Munich, the CREATE team also visited the cities of Stuttgart, Freiburg, and Crailsheim, as well as the energy independent Village of Wildpoldsried which produces more than 7 times the amount of energy that it consumes.  CREATE participants visited over 20 business, industry, and government sites and saw multiple examples of energy storage products and large-scale demonstration projects in the field.
In the upcoming year, the CREATE team will be working to conduct an energy storage job task analysis, and to develop curriculum to integrate energy storage technology into existing renewable energy courses.  In the meantime, individuals who are interested in learning more about energy storage can check out the CREATE Energy Storage Blog from the recent German Trip.
This “Climate” Headline Points to Growing Career Opportunities - by Joe Sarubbi
A new career map, Careers in Climate Control Technology, attempts to end the stereotypes and to show these jobs in the positive light they deserve. It provides a first-of-its-kind interactive, visual tool to showcase the employment opportunities that exist in the exploding HVAC/R industry – Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration.

In fact, employment in the HVAC/R industry is growing faster than the average for all occupations – on track for projected growth of 15 percent from 2016 to 2026.
This new career map offers a powerful tool that can be used by educators, career advisors, students, military veterans, employers, policy-makers, workforce professionals and others to see the wide variety of high-quality jobs that exist in the industry. It also illustrates how advancement is possible after just a few years of experience.

The map identifies five sectors within the industry – residential, commercial, sales and marketing, automated controls, and design and engineering. It highlights 40 jobs and more than 150 advancements between those jobs and across sectors. The jobs and job details are applicable across the U.S., but the salaries are focused on the California market since the funding for the Careers in Climate Control Technology map was made possible by the Proposition 39 Clean Energy Workforce Program Grant, a statewide California initiative.

The map also highlights “green jobs.” The HVAC/R industry is loaded with jobs that have an immense impact on a building's efficient use of energy and resources. Think heating and lighting controls in a building or home. Think maintaining heating and air conditioning equipment in homes or offices so it runs efficiently. Think about design and manufacturing jobs where new technology is being developed and deployed to reduce heating and air conditioning equipment's energy use.   

Details in the career map provide a brief description of each job, with salary range, information on education and training, as well as skills and requirements necessary to do the job well.
2020 KidWind Challenge Season
KidWind is getting ready to launch the 2019-20 season. Their team accomplished so much last year and plan to do even more this year!  

Just a few Highlights from 2018-19 Year:
  • 35 Regional KidWind Challenges in 22 States.
  • 250+ Local workshops, classroom visits, outreach events that impact over 2,000 educators and 50,000 students.
  • 1000 Teams / 5000+ students directly involved in Regional and Online KidWind Challenges.
  • 80 Teams comprised of 300 students attending WINDPOWER 2019 in Houston, TX.
  • One awesome shark turbine, maybe more but we only saw one.
  • Over 50% of participants at the 2019 National Challenge were young women and approximately 40% female participation at regional events. 
If you are planning a local KidWind workshop or challenge, please reach out to Mike ( at KidWind now, so they can add you to their map. Next month they will launch a new website with updated rules, all scheduled events and a great deal more support for new teams!

The CREATE Update

Calendar Events

6th Annual Wisconsin CREATE Solar PV Institute

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 2 kW grid connected PV systems
  • Behind the scenes  tour of the largest rooftop solar ystem in Wisconsin (1.85 MW)
  • 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 (estimated tuition cost is $60)
For more information about the Summer 2020 Solar PV Institutes and to submit your application, please visit the CREATE webpage at 

CREATE Solar PV Institute
July 7-9, 2020, Madison Area Technical College, Madison, WI

Washington STEM Educator Solar Institute 

Program Summary:

Learn how to teach solar principles in effective, engaging ways in your classroom! Local STEM teachers can join us at Shoreline Community College for the Washington STEM Educator Solar Institute. Learn to install and commission a residential size solar photovoltaic array. You’ll perform hands-on classroom lab activities that will enable you to bring solar energy to life in your classroom.

When: Dates for 2020 TBD - Check the CREATE Website for Updates

Where: Hosted by Shoreline Community College

Cost: FREE for 20 selected nominees; each participant will receive a stipend upon completion of the institute. 


·        Three days of interactive, high-engagement instruction in cutting-edge solar   technology

·         $300 stipend paid upon completion of the institute

·         Lesson plans, videos and teaching resources to keep

·         Expert instructors nationally recognized in renewable energy curriculum

·         WA State STEM Integration Clock hours available

·         Breakfast and lunch each day


This program is designed for 20 instructors in science, technology, engineering, math, or career/technical training fields. Applicants should complete the online application form by the priority deadline, April 1, 2020; late applications may be considered if space is still available on a rolling basis.

Application Process:

The application includes biographic information and 3 short-answer essays about your interest or experience with solar. Selection will be based on how well participants will be able to fulfill the institute objectives, including utilizing institute lesson plans into your future curriculum. Priority application deadline: April 1, 2020; late applications considered if space available on a rolling basis.


To apply contact Louise Petruzzella at:

Delaware Energy Institute
Science and Technical Education Teachers learn how to teach sustainable energy principles in effective, engaging ways in your classroom!  Join us at Delaware Tech for the STEM Educator Energy Institute. At the Institute, you will learn fundamentals of Energy Efficiency and Solar (photovoltaics).  During this three day Energy Institute, we will look at data analysis, energy efficiency and solar photovoltaics.
You will get to use tools of the trade to evaluate solar locations for suitability, perform data logging to perform an energy audit of a classroom, and provide resources and lesson plans you can take and implement in your school.  
Finally, you’ll perform (and take with you) ready to use hands-on classroom lab activities that will enable you to bring renewable energy, energy efficiency and data analysis to life in your classroom.
When: Dates for 2020 TBD - Check the CREATE Website for Updates
Where: Delaware Technical Community College in Dover, Delaware. 
Hotel accommodations provided, along with breakfast and lunch   Stipend paid to participants after full completion of the Academy. One graduate credit available (estimated tuition cost is $60).

For more information contact Jennifer Clemons at Delaware Technical Community College:  302-857-1308
Illinois Energy Institute
We would like to welcome High School and Community College Teachers of any discipline to learn how to teach renewable energy principles in effective, engaging ways in your classroom!  Join us at Heartland Community College in Normal, Illinois for the STEM Educator Renewable Energy Institute. At the Institute, you’ll use tools of the trade to install and commission a residential size solar photovoltaic array.  Learn about wind turbines and have the opportunity to visit the campus large-scale wind turbine! You’ll review and practice necessary safety measures and electrical principles. Finally, you’ll perform (and take with you) ready-to-use hands-on classroom lab activities that will enable you to bring renewable energy to life in your classroom.

When: Dates for 2020 TBD - Check the CREATE Website for Updates
At Heartland Community College in the Workforce Development Center
Hotel accommodations provided (for those out of town)   A light breakfast and a catered lunch provided   Stipend paid to participants after full completion of the Institute. Continuing Education Units are available.   

For more information contact Chris Miller at Heartland Community College: or 309-268-8855

National Science Foundation Grant Writing Workshop
June 14-17, 2020

Workshop Focus: Participants in this workshop will learn about the NSF Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program and how to most effectively apply for grant funding. Faculty must propose a specific project to improve an ATE-eligible technical program in a one page proposal. One page proposals will be reviewed from October to February 1st when the first acceptances will be sent. Proposals will be either accepted or sent back for corrections and the website will remain open until the workshop and a waiting list are full. Workshop activities will include presentations; planning and writing sessions with mentors who have had extensive experience with ATE and NSF; and networking with colleagues from similar institutions around the country. Two faculty from each college will receive stipend support.
When: Sunday evening June 14th, 2020, through noon on Wednesday, June 17th .

Location: College of the Canyons, Santa Clarita, CA (Los Angeles County).

Eligibility: Full-time STEM discipline faculty involved in technician education programs from two-year colleges. Two faculty per college are eligible and colleges may also send a grant writer as a third team member at their own expense. Teams of two or three are strongly encouraged.

Costs: Travel stipend – Local stipend for each of two faculty from colleges less than 50 miles away $350 (mileage and per diem). Faculty from colleges more than 50 miles: $1200 (flight, hotel, per diem,
ground transportation) for each of two faculty. Meals will be provided during the workshop. Stipends will be issued to individuals, not colleges. Faculty should keep all receipts, as a 1099 will be issued. A group rate for hotel accommodations will be provided.

Stipends and Support: Each participant will be eligible for a $250 stipend (in addition to travel stipend) at the completion of the workshop. An additional stipend of $250 will be available upon submission of an ATE proposal in the October 2020 competition.

Ongoing Support: The mentor assigned to each college team will continue throughout the year to support each college’s efforts to write a complete proposal. This will include creating pre- and post-workshop milestones, webinars, suggesting resources, and providing feedback both for proposal writing and in the award process.

Registration will be available the end of October. If you have any questions, please contact grant PI, Dr. Kathleen Alfano at:


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No.1931264. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect those of the National Science Foundation.

Renewable Energy Student and Faculty Internship Opportunities Await

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) offers a number of internship opportunities to full-time undergraduate and graduate students and visiting faculty, including internships in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science. And the time to apply is now!
NREL conducts research in about 50 areas of scientific investigation, including photovoltaics, wind energy, biomass-derived fuels and chemicals, building efficiency, energy integration, advanced vehicles scientific computing, and energy analysis.
As an intern, you’ll engage in research projects under the guidance of a laboratory scientist or engineer. You’ll attend enriching professional development activities such as laboratory tours, a speaker’s series on NREL’s latest scientific developments, and workshops that improve professional skills in writing technical research papers, oral presentations, and posters.
Community College Internship (CCI) Program
The CCI program provides educational training and research experience in renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. The CCI offers community college students technician experience while opening doors to education at 4-year colleges and universities.
Research Participant Program (RPP) Internships
These are year-round opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students to participate in NREL’s research and development programs, initiate new areas of research, and establish a base for ongoing collaborations. As an RPP intern, you can potentially work full time over the summer and during breaks, and part time throughout the school year. You need to be enrolled as a full-time student or within 12 months of graduation to be eligible.
Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) Program
The SULI program provides a rich research experience in world-class laboratory facilities. You’ll work under the direction of scientific and technical staff who serve as research advisors and mentors in DOE projects that support undergraduates in the next generation of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers.
Visiting Faculty Program (VFP)
The VFP seeks to increase the research competitiveness of faculty members and their students at institutions historically underrepresented in the research community. The goal is to expand the workforce vital to DOE mission areas. Selected faculty members collaborate with DOE laboratory research staff on a research project of mutual interest. Participants may invite up to two students (one of which may be a graduate student) to participate in the research project.
Application windows
  • Spring 2020: NREL is currently accepting applications for both the spring 2020 SULI and CCI programs. The application period ends at 5 p.m. Eastern, Monday October 7, 2019.
  • Summer 2020: NREL’s summer 2020 SULI, CCI, and VFP application periods are slated to open October 16, 2019.
  • RPP internships: please take a look at our job postings throughout the year
If you are interested in applying, please visit NREL’s internships site or contact Marcus Giron.
CREATE Webinars
CREATE will be continuing our webinar series in 2019/20. Planned topics include Solar Photovoltaics, Energy Storage, SCADA, 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 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, from the Solar Foundation on Solar Hiring Insights, and from the  North American Board of Certified Energy practitioners on on Solar Industry Credentials 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 © 2019 College of the Canyons, All rights reserved.

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