On the heels of the recent release of The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census Report, domestic solar manufacturer Blue Sky Energy, Inc. (“Blue Sky Energy”) renews its stance in championing renewable energy industry training efforts. Blue Sky Energy bestowed its patented solar charge controller to Solar Energy International (“SEI”) for use in SEI’s hands-on design and installation workshops.
Reporting a 13.2% increase in solar employment from 2011-2012, the National Solar Jobs Census Report projects a 17.2% growth in new solar workers by September 2013. The Blue Sky Energy-supported SEI workshops are a critical tool for training many of those thousands of new solar workers.
The solar and wind energy system workshops expose attendees to the technology while blending classroom activities, like system design, with hands-on installation projects in the field. The participants, ranging from homeowners to professional electricians, have the opportunity to install real-world systems for SEI clients or for families in need.
SEI’s Northwest workshops take place in Washington on Guemes Island which has one of the highest counts of solar arrays per capita in the country. SEI’s Northwest and Costa Rica Coordinator, Ian Woofenden, is a resident of Guemes Island and has lived off-grid for over 30 years.
“As coordinator of SEI’s NW program, I’m committed to showing our workshop participants a broad range of renewable energy equipment on display and in active use,” states Woofenden. “Blue Sky Energy has been a long-time supporter of the program, donating equipment for many years, and supporting our real-world educational efforts. We’ve found their gear to be intelligent and robust, and the people to be technically and personally top notch.”
This year, Blue Sky Energy donated their Solar Boost 3024iL charge controller, an efficient and multi-faceted device that uses its software to determine the battery levels and what is needed to maintain the battery voltage. With the DUO-option Diversion Control microprocessor upgrade, the SB3024iL allows for two separate renewable energy power sources (e.g. solar/wind or solar/hydroelectric) to operate at the same time with only one charge controller.
This donation is just one of many that have been made by Blue Sky Energy to Solar Energy International over the years. The relationship between Blue Sky Energy and SEI began decades ago, when Blue Sky Energy was founded in 1993 as RV Power Products. A testament to the history of their relationship, at least three systems regularly toured by SEI NW workshop groups still rely on original RV Power Products charge controllers.
“SEI provides a very valuable service in the industry, and [they do this] as a non-profit,” says Melanie Cullen, VP of Operations at Blue Sky Energy. “We’re not large enough to do our own individual training, but we can provide equipment for SEI so that they can educate others.”
As described by Woofenden, the relationship between SEI and its donors is symbiotic. The product donations from commercial manufacturers help to keep the SEI workshops up to date on the latest technology and provide donors with the opportunity to showcase their products to future installers. The SEI workshop instructors can use the products to educate participants about the specific technology as well as to demonstrate which products are appropriate for different system projects. Until Blue Sky Energy’s SB3024iL is used for a project, it will remain on display where all workshop participants can compare it to other critical products.
In addition to promoting solar job growth through support of SEI, Blue Sky Energy is among the solar manufacturing companies that are expecting to add solar workers by the end of 2013. They are currently looking to hire a Senior Product Specialist for their Southern California team.
About Blue Sky Energy, Inc.
Blue Sky Energy is the trusted, off-grid solar solutions provider with manufacturing operations in the U.S. They offer the largest collection of small, Military Standard-certified Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) charge controllers, pairing dynamic solutions with unsurpassed quality and reliability. Fourteen years after introducing the first MPPT product to the clean energy community, Blue Sky Energy maintains its commitment to excellence in personalized customer service, philanthropy, and international relations with distribution to over 33 countries worldwide. Connect with Blue Sky Energy on Facebook and Twitter. www.
About Solar Energy International
Solar Energy International (SEI) was founded in 1991 as a nonprofit educational organization to help others use renewable energy resources and sustainable building technologies through education and technical assistance. Our vision is focused on helping create a more sustainable future for our planet and its inhabitants. Through our work, we see clear opportunities to influence people’s career choices, thinking, and behaviors towards renewable energy, energy efficiency, and the use of natural, sustainable methods of energy production and utilization. Visit us at www.solarenergy.org for information and join Solar Energy International on Facebook.
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