Eagle Point Solar and Northeast Iowa Community College team up to create solar ... - Eagle Point Solar

Eagle Point Solar and Northeast Iowa Community College team up to create solar …

Eagle Point Solar and Northeast Iowa Community College
team up to create solar training certificate option.
April 26, 2018
Eagle Point Solar and Northeast Iowa Community College
team up to create solar training certificate option
DUBUQUE—Eagle Point Solar of Dubuque and Northeast Iowa Community College’s Business and Community Solutions division are partnering together to provide job training for future solar installers. The initiative, which was driven by Eagle Point Solar, creates a solar installer certificate program for students interested in the field of solar technology.
The first two-week training session was held from Feb. 19 – March 2, and students completed classes in OSHA 10-Hour construction, solar basics, basic electricity and photovoltaic (PV) systems, with NICC instructors covering these areas. Eagle Point Solar’s Joe Petsche, vice president of construction and engineering, and Matt Shear, service director, trained students in PV system build/construction, PV system service, fork truck and Genie lift training, and a PV system ground &roof field study tour The launch of the new training program proved successful, according to Randy Ambrosy, Eagle Point Solar vice president of operations.
“We trained six new installers. The mix of classroom theory and hands-on training was a perfect balance to get the hires ready to dive in and begin additional on-the-job training. In the last group we hired an electrician, mechanic, recent high school graduate, a general contractor that was tired of looking for good help and a tow truck driver. No one had solar expertise, so the program provided the basics to make them a valuable member of their construction crew on their first day,” Ambrosy explained.
The training partnership with the College arrives at a critical time when renewable energy installation and construction is booming in the Dubuque and the Tri-state area, Ambrosy added. Eagle Point Solar began the year with 30 employees and has quickly grown to 42 and predicts to double in size from 2017 to 2018.
“This is our company’s number one concern right now: can we recruit the skilled, knowledgeable and reliable employees we need to support the rising amount of solar projects we are selling? We funded the program, and Northeast Iowa Community College really stepped up and helped design the curriculum with us within 30 days. The strength of this two-week training program is that these prospective employees develop the foundational knowledge they need in solar basics and installation,” he said.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported in February that estimated total solar energy production generated by utility and small scale facilities nationwide grew (in thousand megawatthours) from 28,924 in 2014, to 77,097 in 2017 – an increase of 166.5 percent. In Iowa, the same report indicated that from December 2016 – December 2017, net generation from solar photovoltaic energy in all sectors had grown from 60 thousand megawatthours to 98, an increase of 63.3 percent.
“Northeast Iowa Community College has offered renewable energy classes in the past, but this is the first time we provided a customized training on solar energy. NICC and Eagle Point Solar staff have reviewed the recent custom training, made a few adjustments and plan to offer the training in the near future. The advantage of developing specific training for organizations is that it can be developed quickly, adjusted as needed, is flexible and meets the company’s needs. It has been a pleasure working with Eagle Point Solar and helping to strengthen their staff as they continue to grow,” said Kyra Bellrichard, NICC Business and Community Solutions director of open enrollment and career pathway certificate programs.
For more information about training options available in solar installation at Northeast Iowa Community College, contact Bellrichard at bellrichardk@nicc.edu.

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