Solar Installation Program Shares New Skills

Solar Installation Program Shares New Skills

Solar power is becoming more widely used in Alaska communities and homes as a renewable energy resource. Installing them is often left to the professionals, but they had to learn somewhere, too!

Michelle Wilber, research engineer at ACEP with the Solar Technologies Program, recently traveled to Dillingham for a Solar Professionals Installer Training sponsored by the UAF Bristol Bay Campus Sustainable Energy Program. Wilber and the other students spent eight days learning the fundamental, practical science behind solar electric systems from Solar Energy International instructors.  The participants also learned installation methods through both coursework and hands-on experience, including decommissioning an old solar array and installing a new, grid-tied, solar electric array on the Bristol Bay Campus.

"I model solar energy as part of my research, but to really get in there and learn the details of how to perform a successful, safe and code-compliant installation was invaluable,” said Wilber. “If and when this training is offered again, I highly recommend it, especially for those in rural Alaska interested in solar and wanting to learn the ins and outs of harnessing this energy source for anything from fish camp to the community."

Special thanks to Eric Goddard and Mark Masteller of the Bristol Bay Campus Sustainable Energy Program for the hard work to make this training come together, to Tom Honey and Kyle Bolger (SEI's finest instructors) and to an amazing cohort of fellow students who made a packed week of learning more fun than you can imagine.


Michelle Wilber takes a selfie as students install solar panels at UAF’s Bristol Bay Campus. Photo by Michelle Wilber.