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Solar Trainings Offer Technology Overview for Policymakers, Other Influential Decision Makers

Jan. 11, 2012

Since June 2010, representatives from NREL have facilitated and coordinated Solar Boot Camp trainings across the country, including Colorado, Hawaii, California, Kentucky, New York, and Atlanta.

Three trainings have been provided for policy and decision makers, legislators, non-profits, and others who can contribute to the adoption of solar technologies. Three additional trainings have also been held for Public Utility Commission-specific audiences, which focus more on the technical aspects of the grid.

"We separate these trainings because we've found that regulators are often heavy on policy background, and light on grid engineering," says project lead Elizabeth Doris.

For both types of training, NREL's expert conference and administrative staff facilitate the logistics while technical staff serve as presenters. Topics covered include:

  • Solar resource development
  • Solar technology options
  • Market updates and technology cost trends
  • Solar on the distribution system
  • Policies and regulations
  • Interconnection and net metering
  • Manufacturing opportunities
  • Jobs and economic impacts
  • Project financing options
  • Utility programs
  • NREL analysis tools
  • U.S. Department of Energy resources for state decision makers.

"Additional topics depend on the region's needs," says Doris. "We try to find locals with expertise or people with expertise in areas where NREL doesn't have it."

"These trainings provide a nice venue for regulators and lawmakers to be in the same room hearing the same information. They begin to understand each other's challenges in developing and implementing solar policies and programs," says Sarah Truitt, NREL’s Solar and Buildings Technology Program Manager.

—Devin Egan