This winter, the MREA was excited to launch six student internships across three Midwestern states. The internships, which partner with universities and solar contracting firms in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota, are providing opportunities for students to apply their MREA training in PV site assessment, design, and sales, to real world projects.
In Wisconsin, the MREA and the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point hired two undergraduate interns to develop a campus roadmap through a cost-share agreement. Though working to document the University’s opportunities for solar as a team, each intern has their own focus and track to follow. Alex Thomas, a senior double majoring in Biology as well as Soil and Waste Resources, serves as the Site and Financial Analyses Intern. In this role, he focuses on identifying priority sites for solar PV (photovoltaic) deployment and analyzing various investment scenarios. The Stakeholder and Campus Policy Intern, Jason Peters, is a senior Biochemistry major focusing on stakeholder engagement and navigating campus, local, state, and federal rules and regulations around these types of investments. Since beginning in November 2016, Alex has been busy creating site designs for the UWSP campus and properties while Jason has been meeting with stakeholders and identifying the decision-making pathway for this type of investment. Both are looking forward to the final iteration of the solar roadmap anticipated this coming May.
In Illinois, the MREA partnered with StraightUp Solar to offer two internship opportunities for Illinois State University (ISU) students. Starting in mid-January, student interns Andrew Stetter and Oliver Ellen have proven to be great assets to the StraightUp Solar team, making quick progress on assignments and helping support the business’s project development and sales efforts. Both Stetter and Ellen are majoring in renewable energy at ISU and have been involved in the university’s Renewable Energy Society.
Finally, the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) began hosting two MREA interns in early January. Jed Krause, a student at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and Zachary Koop, a student at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, are serving as Design and Project Management Interns for the northern Minnesota nonprofit.
These internship collaborations have been made possible through support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative and are part of MREA’s ongoing effort to provide meaningful practical experience for students, to engage with industry partners, and advance solar deployment in the Midwest through training and collaboration.