NCCETC Training Instructor Teaches Essential Tools for a Growing Clean Energy Workforce

The Training program at the NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) strives to provide comprehensive and up-to-date education for individuals to get the training and credentials they need to kick start their career in clean energy. Both companies and individuals can benefit from the training program’s high-quality classroom and hands-on learning covering the technical and financial side of clean energy. 

In August, NCCETC’s reopened its training facility in Raleigh, NC to offer in-person classes once again after transitioning to fully virtual training last year. Over the last few months, students have had the opportunity to gain face-to-face, hands-on experience in renewable energy management, solar policy and finance, and the design and installation of solar photovoltaic systems.

Setting High Standards in the Solar Industry

NCCETC’s training program helps create a skilled and educated workforce to lead the way towards a sustainable clean energy industry in North Carolina and beyond. Training program courses are taught and curated by highly-skilled industry experts, drawing on years of past experience to help students understand real-world applications of classroom instruction.

Allison Carr, Senior Training Specialist at NCCETC, is looking forward to working with individuals and organizations in need of training to help shape the program and future courses. “We know the clean energy workforce is growing and want to enable pathways to employment and engagement within the industry,” Carr said.

David Del Vecchio, a solar instructor at NCCETC, uses his 23 years of experience to help him communicate technical subjects in a way students from any background can comprehend. Del Vecchio first started installing solar in 1998 and has been installing, designing and performing inspections as well as operations and maintenance on solar systems in North Carolina ever since.

As the solar industry evolved and expanded, so did the demand for Del Vecchio’s day-to-day work as a solar installer. Initially, he mainly did installations of off-grid solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, with occasional wind or micro-hydro turbines. Del Vecchio  began installing residential grid-connected systems in earnest around 2005, followed by commercial rooftops a few years afterwards before industrial and utility-scale installations started to play a role in 2012.

“I have worked on a wide range of solar systems from all aspects,” Del Vecchio recalled, “from equipment specifications, electrical design, construction inspections, electrical testing, commissioning, and operations and maintenance.”

Del Vecchio became certified as a PV professional in 2005 by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) and joined NCCETC as a training instructor a year later. In 2010, he also became a certified Master PV Trainer and Instructor through the International Renewable Energy Council.

When Del Vecchio began teaching 14 years ago, his primary motivation was to ensure quality and robust installations utilizing industry best practices, code compliance and safety for technicians working with solar technology. In every course he teaches, Del Vecchio aims to set an example for his students to strive for the best to ensure safe and quality PV installations across the industry. 

Both newcomers to the industry and those who already have experience with PV technologies can benefit from registering for a training course. Del Vecchio teaches the introductory REPV: Fundamentals of PV Design and Installation course which  provides pertinent resume qualifications for those entering the industry while the advanced courses enable those who currently work in the solar industry to take the next step in their careers. 

The NABCEP registered REPV course prepares students for the NABCEP PV Associate Exam, and many NCCETC training alumni have become NABCEP Certified PV Installation Professionals. “Taking these courses proves to your future employer or customer that you are seeking self-development and can lead to NABCEP certifications depending on your goals,” Del Vecchio said. 

Seeing students go on to be successful and confident in their careers is Del Vecchio’s favorite part of being an instructor. “Whether they’re interested in starting a solar company or integrating solar into an existing business, my students will remember their experiences in the classroom and lab yard for the entirety of their career- and they’re driven to perform the highest quality work that they can,” he noted. 

Del Vecchio is committed to providing the most directly useful skills and information through his courses to immediately assist students in their current job. As an engineer and a field technician, Del Vecchio prides himself on delivering clear and concise lessons on real world performance of today’s battery and solar systems.

Del Vecchio goes in-depth into the operations and maintenance (O&M) of PV systems in NCCETC’s two-day workshop, which will be held next month, November 4th through 5th, 2021. Students will learn how to effectively evaluate the performance of systems, test insulation resistance, find ground faults, and design an O&M work plan and protocol for safety.

Educating & Empowering Energy Technicians

The detailed and comprehensive training provided in classes offered by NCCETC is exactly what drew the attention of John Donoghue, President of Cape Fear Solar Systems. Donoghue attended the REPV: Fundamentals of PV Design and Installation course and, since completing it, has sent several of his own employees to complete the training as well.

“By attending the course at NCCETC, I hoped to learn from an established expert and shorten the time it would have taken me to learn these concepts on my own, while also avoiding the mistakes I might have otherwise made,” Donoghue explained. He wanted to improve his skills and his confidence, so that he could go into the field and perform installations in a safe and effective manner.

REPV: Fundamentals of PV Design and Installation is a 5-day course covering the fundamentals of PV systems, from planning and design stages to installation and connecting to the grid. On the last day of REPV, students get a chance to install a live, grid-tied PV system themselves at the Hands-On Solar PV Lab.

NCCETC offers online and in-person workshops and programs ranging from short, certificate classes to the in-depth Renewable Energy Technologies Diploma Series. The training program’s flexibility gives companies and individuals the chance to gain essential knowledge in a relatively short period of time from industry experts. 

“With the hustle and bustle of day to day life, these courses provide an intensive way to get exposure to information, helping our people better understand the overall concepts of solar designs and installations,” said Donoghue. 

Clean energy is a rapidly growing industry and technology is constantly evolving. NCCETC’s training program continues to expand course offerings and update existing course curriculum to be current, ensuring quality and seeking to address current challenges within the solar industry.

“In an industry that is so dynamic and rapidly changing, participating in these courses helps us keep up-to-date on best practices related to design and installation of solar systems,” stated Donoghue.

NCCETC also welcomes opportunities to assist organizations and bring the training to your workplace. Our team can develop a comprehensive training program tailored to the needs of your company, from live instruction to hands-on guided activities. 

“Our goal is to provide essential skills through high-quality training,” said Carr. “We want to support the clean energy industry now by supporting individuals and partnering with organizations to offer opportunities that meet current needs.”

If you’re interested in renewable energy and want to strengthen your skills, see our training calendar online or sign up for the weekly newsletter to always be in the know about upcoming courses and ways to save on registration!