A Renewed Collaboration
Solar Energy International and Mayfield Renewables Team Up to Offer Online Energy Storage Training
The cooperative relationship between Solar Energy International (SEI), the industry-leading training organization for solar professionals, and team members from Mayfield Renewables goes back decades. In January 2022, the two organizations will start a new collaborative chapter by hosting two training courses developed by Mayfield Renewables on SEI’s online educational platform.
Mayfield Renewables developed the two courses, NEC 2017 and 2020 Solar-Plus-Storage Requirements and NFPA 855 and Fire Code Requirements for Energy Storage Systems, to raise industry awareness in code compliance, safety, and best practices for energy storage projects. The new courses will complement SEI’s extensive and respected online and hands-on training curriculum.
While educators, trainers, designers, technicians, and staff members from SEI and Mayfield Renewables have supported each other across the solar industry for decades, the January 2022 course launch represents the first official educational collaboration between the two organizations.
A History of Collaboration
The earliest cross-pollination between the two organizations dates back to the early 1990s when legendary SEI co-founder Johnny Wiess and Karen and Richard Perez, founders and publishers of Home Power magazine, joined forces to teach a solar business workshop in Carbondale, Colorado. Their goal was to drive the early adoption of solar power and energy independence—both of which were fringe, even radical ideas at the time—through high-quality and accessible training and education.
The legacy of friendship and collaboration between Home Power and SEI evolved and expanded over the decades. Many of Mayfield Renewables’ current team members either got their start in the solar industry or advanced it via SEI workshops and training. On the flip side, SEI instructors frequently contributed educational content for publication in Home Power. In turn, SEI would use the published articles and technical illustrations to supplement its base curriculum.
As the U.S. solar industry grew and evolved, SEI and Home Power did. In 2008, Home Power launched SolarPro, a technical publication geared toward solar professionals working in the commercial, industrial, and utility solar and energy storage markets. SEI developed a hands-on training facility in Paonia, Colorado, trained more than 82,000 solar professionals in the U.S. and internationally.
“Education has always been at the heart of everything we do.”
—Ryan Mayfield, Founder and CEO, Mayfield Renewables
In 2018, in the face of a declining print media industry, the difficult decision was made to sunset Home Power and SolarPro, ending their 30 and 10 year runs, respectively. As staff members reentered the job market, Ryan Mayfield, Mayfield Renewables founder and CEO, saw the opportunity to support some of his industry colleagues while building out his existing solar design and technical consultancy business with a renewed focus on education and training.
Ryan was a long-standing technical content contributor to both publications and has developed and led training courses, primarily on solar-plus-storage system code compliance, across the U.S. and internationally for close to two decades. Over the past two years, Ryan has added seasoned technical writers, educators, and graphic designers from the Home Power and SolarPro family to the Mayfield team.
Advancing Solar-Plus-Storage Training
Ryan’s training and education goals coincided with Mayfield Renewable’s ongoing design and engineering work on commercial, industrial, and complex, and residential-scale energy storage systems. The emerging lithium-ion battery technology used in these systems, coupled with changes to energy storage codes and standards, led to the development of the two online courses Mayfield Renewables and Solar Energy International are collaboratively launching in January.
Mayfield Renewables’ solar-plus-storage program director, Justine Sanchez, led the course development effort. Justine has worked with SEI as an instructor since 1998. In addition, she was a technical editor for Home Power for more than a decade. Inspired by the renewed collaboration between Mayfield Renewables and SEI, Justine is excited to continue the legacy of friendship and cooperative education. She explains the driving force behind the development of the two soon-to-be-launched online courses:
“With the rapid increase in interest and deployment of solar-plus-storage systems, electrical, fire, and building codes require frequent updating to keep up with new markets, equipment and design innovations, and of course fire protection goals. As a result, new codes are released every three years. Along with this effort comes a push from industry stakeholders, system designers, and integrators to understand the implications these new requirements will have on the systems they’re designing and installing.
“While solar-plus-storage systems are not new to the PV industry, the new wave of lithium-ion energy storage systems are. Unfortunately, a few notable incidents with these technologies have caused electrical, fire, and building code-making panels to quickly adopt new or re-think old safety standards and requirements. As a result, solar industry professionals looking to employ energy storage may find themselves wading through unfamiliar code requirements. Our goal for the courses is to clearly outline applicable codes and standards from various code cycles specific to energy storage systems.”
Launching January 2022
The two new courses, NEC 2017 and 2020 Solar-Plus-Storage Requirements and NFPA 855 and Fire Code Requirements for Energy Storage Systems, are pre-recorded and self-paced. NABCEB has certified both courses for CEUs (2-hours each) upon completion.
Staffers from Mayfield Renewables and SEI are excited to work in tandem again as they have for decades. Together, the organizations share a goal of expanding their collective reach and helping our industry grow responsibly, sustainably, and safely.