An information session for students interested in learning about the College of the Canyon’s new lineup of solar and alternative energy courses debuting this fall will be hosted by the college’s Career Technical Education (CTE) division. The meeting will be from 7-8:30 p.m. on July 21 at the COC Canyon Country Campus, Room 300.
The session will provide information about the educational pathways and career opportunities associated with the new courses. Though walk-ins will be welcome, attendees are asked to RSVP in advance by calling (661) 362-3131 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The college’s Canyon Country campus is located at 17200 Sierra Highway, in Canyon Country.
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The college’s solar energy technician certificate program will include 13 units of instruction spread over three courses that can be completed in two to three semesters. The courses are Introduction to Energy Technology, Solar Photovoltaics Systems and Solar Thermal Systems.
The first course in the program, Introduction to Energy Technology, will be offered at the Canyon Country campus’ soon-to-be-completed Applied Technology Education Center (ATEC), with subsequent lab courses in the program scheduled to debut in spring 2012.
Including instruction in electricity fundamentals, alternative energy technologies, energy efficiency concepts and industry relevant mathematics, this introductory course will also serve as a prerequisite for future degree and certificate options in the college’s solar and energy series.
Upon successful completion of the solar energy technician certificate program, students will posses a detailed understanding of the PV and solar thermal energy technologies currently being employed, and will be qualified to accept entry-level positions in the fields of solar PV and solar thermal design, installation and maintenance.
Students who complete the program will also be eligible to sit for the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) exams in the areas of entry-level solar thermal and/or entry-level photovoltaics.
“All of our new solar technology courses and program options have been developed in conjunction with an advisory board composed of local businesses and industry representatives to make sure the curriculum addresses the direct needs of the industry,” said Kristin Houser, Dean of Career Technical Education at the college. “We want to turn out well-trained technicians who will be prepared to help meet the energy industry demands of tomorrow.”
The debut of the college’s new solar energy courses coincides with ongoing state and nationwide trends in the utilities and power generation industries to reduce consumer dependence on nonrenewable energy sources through a variety of wind and solar energy projects spanning all 50 states.
“Along with the increased amount of renewable energy being generated will come an increased demand for a workforce of highly skilled solar technicians,” added Houser.
A survey of the nation’s solar industry, released in January 2011, showed that more than 50 percent of all solar firms expect to add jobs over the next year, with less than 3 percent expecting layoffs.
Those same solar companies also anticipate a 26 percent increase in the solar industry’s workforce over the next year, representing approximately 50,000 new jobs across all related industries.
With that, the solar job positions expected to be among the fastest growing include: photovoltaic (PV) system installers, electricians and roofers with experience handling solar installations, sales personnel at wholesale solar firms and sales representatives at installation firms.
College officials are currently in the process of developing additional solar technology and energy program options in the areas of photovoltaic sales/customer service, weatherization and energy efficient technology, energy code compliance and energy auditing.
Once these program options are developed, students who first complete the introductory course prerequisite, Introduction to Energy Technology, will be eligible to enroll in the solar or general energy technology certificate program option of their choice.
For more information about the about the College of the Canyons solar technology program or the lineup of new alternative energy courses please visit www.canyons.edu/solar.