MREA Courses - Learn from the Leader

Students in a solar thermal course

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association has been offering courses throughout the upper Midwest since 1992.

When you attend courses offered by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, you learn from trained professionals, gain resources for further learning, and meet others who are working to create a sustainable future in their personal and professional lives.

"Since the training we did together at WVU-P[arkersburg], I never fail to talk about the work you [Matt Parks, MREA Instructor] did with those students, which I consider some of if not the finest solar instruction I've had the pleasure to experience.

"The story I usually tell is, when we commissioned the 21-[module] array, a process I've seen too many instructors breeze through. You, on the other hand, turned everything into a question - 'What should we do first? Where should we test that? What should we see when we do this?' ...This act of breaking the task down into parts, to encourage students to think ahead, and to bring them into the process - that's the heart of teaching, and you did it exceptionally well.

"Thanks for being a great example." 

- Matt Fedorko, Project Coordinator for the Northern Mid-Atlantic Solar Education and Resource Center

How to Get Started

The MREA offers many different types of courses to help you get the training you want, at a price you can afford.

For people who are interested in, but may not feel comfortable registering for a full course just yet, the MREA offers online, On-damand courses that are completely at your own pace. The online, On-demand courses are free for MREA members and only $20 for non-members.

The MREA also offers face-to-face and online courses on various topics for all knowledge levels, from beginner to professional.

If you have questions about how to proceed in a specific topic, feel free to email Jenny Heinzen, MREA Curriculum and Training Coordinator. If you are ready to register, check out our Course Schedule to see our current offerings.

The MREA offers contract trainings for larger groups who want to learn about renewable energy at their facility. To organize a contract training, email Clay Sterling, MREA Regional Training Officer.

MREA Course Topics

MREA offers courses that cover a variety of topics in renewable energy.
Come learn from experts in the field about subjects including:

  • Photovoltaics or PV (solar electricity)
  • Small wind energy systems
  • Solar domestic hot water (solar thermal) systems
  • Site assessor training and Certificates
  • Installer training
  • Renewable energy business
  • Alternative construction
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Sustainable living

Progression of Knowledge

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association offers courses for the beginner, the renewable energy professional, and for a wide range of interests anywhere in-between. Our numbering system is similar to that of a college or university, and is designed to reflect “levels” of knowledge or experience that are necessary to enroll in our courses. Any prerequisites related to a course will be listed on the course schedule and on the registration pages. Here’s how our MREA course numbering system works:

  • 000- and 100-level courses are introductory in nature and have no prerequisites. These can be online or face-to-face courses.
  • 200-level courses are technology-specific and typically require an introductory course, experience in the related field, or NABCEP Entry Level status to enroll. These courses are offered online and face-to-face.
  • 300-level courses are hands-on and installation-based, where physical participation is required. They have prerequisites similar to 200-level courses.
  • 400-level online or face-to-face courses are advanced technical courses designed for people with prior experience, or have demonstrated basic knowledge of the application, design, installation, and operation of a renewable energy system by holding NABCEP certification or by passing the NABCEP Entry Level exam.  
  • 500-level courses are advanced, hands-on installation courses where the participant(s) works directly with an instructor to pursue “lead installation” hours to be used towards NABCEP certification requirements. These courses are not regularly scheduled and posted on our calendar, but are available to interested registrants in good standing with the MREA as field installation opportunities arise. 500-level courses are typically offered in tandem with 300- and 400-level installation courses.
  • 600-level courses are customized trainings for specific audiences.
  • 700-level courses are for instructors who are active in a renewable energy training program.

MREA Course Audiences

Our courses are designed for a wide range of participants, including homeowners, enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, licensed professionals, and everyone in between. The MREA has developed courses for different audiences, including:

  • Architects, engineers, code officials, and inspectors
  • Electricians
  • Farmers and value-added food producers
  • Plumbers/HVAC technicians
  • PV professionals
  • Sales professionals
  • Solar instructors
  • Solar thermal professionals
  • Sustainability enthusiasts
  • Wind professionals

For many of these audiences, MREA courses have been recognized by state licensing authorities and trade organizations for continuing education units. To see if you can receive continuing education credits for MREA courses, please visit the continuing education units page.

Professional Credentialing

Courses at the MREA are based on industry approved task analysis (when available) and are designed to satisfy the knowledge and skill competencies for professional credentialing.

The credentialing programs that MREA courses satisfy include:

For a list of specific progressions of knowledge by certification program and professional credential, visit the professional credentialing page.

MREA Enrollment Information

Courses are open to all on a first-come first-served basis. Class size is limited to provide the highest quality educational experience for all participants.

MREA courses are conducted throughout the Midwest and vary in length.

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), equal opportunity educational institution and employer.

For more information on enrollment, please visit the registration policy page.

MREA Online Course Policy

The MREA offers three kinds of online courses:
1. On-Demand courses
2. At-your-own-pace with optional, weekly webinars
3. Structured weekly presentations via mandatory, scheduled webinars

On-Demand Courses
These courses are available online anytime, year-round, without any instructor interaction. The presentations and materials are accessed via the MREA online course website and have no scheduled webinars, assignments, or quizzes. Participants do not receive a Letter of Completion.

"At-Your-Own-Pace" Online Courses
These courses are typically four, six, or eight weeks in length, and include weekly scheduled webinars that are optional for course participants. Presentations and materials can be accessed at any time via the MREA online course website within the scheduled start and end dates of the course.

Webinars are scheduled based on the availability of the majority of participants, and they are recorded and subsequently posted on the MREA online course website. Participants are encouraged to stay with the pace of the course and take advantage of the live webinars, as a chance to interact with the instructor and other course participants.

If the participant completes all assignments and quizzes by the course end date to the instructor’s satisfaction, he or she will pass the course, receive a Letter of Completion, and be given credit for applicable continuing education credits/hours.

Online Courses with Mandatory Webinar Attendance
The MREA offers online courses that include mandatory webinar participation. These courses are typically four, six, or eight weeks in length, and include weekly scheduled, live webinars in which the instructor presents the course materials. Webinar attendance is recorded and tracked throughout the duration of the course.

Course materials are available on the MREA online course website within the scheduled course start and end dates. Participants will not receive a Letter of Completion or applicable continuing education credits/hours unless all webinars are fully attended, and all assignments and quizzes are completed by the course end date to the instructor’s satisfaction. The MREA cannot give partial credit for these courses.