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Renewable Energy Education and Training
Download the 2015 Training Catalog
See the 2015 MREA Student Handbook
The MREA offers courses that cover a variety of topics in renewable energy. Our Solar Training Academy brings the MREA's renewable energy courses to you, and many of our PV, solar thermal, and small wind energy courses are available online. Learn from experts in the field about subjects including:
- Photovoltaics (solar electricity)
- Small wind energy systems
- Solar thermal (hot water) systems
- Solar thermal (space heating) systems
- Site Assessment (Certificate Program) - PV, Small Wind, and Solar Thermal
- PV Design and Sales (Certificate Program)
- Electrical Inspector Training
- Solar Installer training
- Instructor training (Recognized Training Provider "RTP" Program)
MREA Course Participants
Our reneweable energy courses are designed for a wide range of participants, including: homeowners, solar installers, solar designers, entrepreneurs, licensed professionals, and renewable energy advocates. Course participants include:
- Architects, builders, designers, and engineers
- Code officials and inspectors
- HVAC technicians
- PV, solar thermal, and wind professionals
- Public officials and decision makers
- Sales and finance professionals
- Site Assessors
- Sustainability enthusiasts
Many MREA courses have been recognized by state licensing agencies and trade organizations for continuing education credits. For more information, please visit the Continuing Education page.
Reneable energy training at the MREA is based on industry approved task analyses, and are designed to satisfy learning objectives and competencies outlined by professional credentialing agencies.
The credentialing programs that MREA courses satisfy include:
- MREA Site Assessment Certificate Program
- MREA PV Design and Sales Certificate Program
NABCEP Continuing Education Provider
- PV Installation Professional Certification
- PV Technical Sales Certification
- Small Wind Installer Certification
- Solar Heating Installer Certification
- NABCEP PV Entry Level Exam Provider
For more details regarding available certificates and certifications, visit the Professional Credentialing page.
In the 1990s, international experts in the fields of renewable energy, education, training, and accreditation worked to create ISPQ Standard 01022:2011, which provided requirements for accreditation of training programs and the certification of trainers in the renewable energy, energy efficiency, and distributed generation fields.
In 2013, the standard was revised to keep current with the industry, increase the value of the credentials based on the standards, and more clearly differentiate between accreditation and certification. IREC Standard 01023 addresses accreditation of training providers, and IREC Standard 01024 addresses certification of master trainers and instructors.
The MREA is an Accredited Training Provider that covers Job Task Analyses (JTAs) for PV Installation Professionals and Solar Heating Installers. The following MREA courses are accredited by IREC:
PV Installation Professional
- PV 101 Basic PV
- PV 201 PV Site Assessor Training
- PV 202 PV System Design (formerly PV 205 Intermediate PV)
- PV 301 PV Design and Installation Lab
- PV 501 Lead Installer Training - Residential PV
Solar Heating Installer
- ST 101 Solar Domestic Hot Water
- ST 201 Residential Solar Hot Water Site Assessor Training
- ST 301 Solar Water Heating Installation Lab
- ST 409 Solar Space Heating Systems
- ST 410 Solar Thermal System Conceptual Design
- ST 501 Solar Thermal Advanced Lead Installation
How to Get Started
The MREA offers renewable energy courses to help you get the training you want, at a price you can afford.
Face-to-face and online courses are available for all knowledge levels, from the beginner to the professional. Visit our Course Schedule to see when and where our courses are held, get more information, and register.
If you have questions about how to proceed, contact Training Coordinator Jenny Heinzen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 715-592-6595, ex. 108.
To organize customized training for your group, contact Regional Training Officer Clay Sterling at email@example.com or 715-592-6595, ex.110.
MREA Course Numbering System
Our renewable energy course numbering system is designed to reflect “levels” of knowledge or experience:
- 000- and 100-level renewable energy courses are introductory in nature and have no prerequisites. These can be online or face-to-face courses.
- 200-level renewable energy 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 renewable energy courses are hands-on and installation-based, where physical participation is required. They have prerequisites similar to 200-level courses.
- 400-level courses are advanced technical renewable energy 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 renewable energy system 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 Enrollment Information
Courses are open to all on a first-come, first-serve basis. Class size is limited to provide the highest quality educational experience for all participants.
MREA courses are offered throughout the Midwest and online.
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 Policies page.
MREA Online Course Policy
The MREA offers three kinds of online courses:
1. On-demand courses
2. Self-paced with optional, weekly webinars
3. Structured weekly presentations via mandatory, scheduled webinars
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.
Self-Paced 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.
MREA Courses - Learn from the Leader
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