Client ProfileTogether with Missoula College, OnSite Energy has sought funding for and completed the design-build of a new Mobile Solar Training Lab that can be used for technical solar trainings at various Montana University System (MUS) locations around the state.
The Training Lab, a mock house with a roof-top solar array, lithium-ion battery bank, and various inverter systems -all riding on a 20’ gooseneck trailer- was ‘rolled out’ for the first time as part of the 2016 Earth Day celebration in Missoula, MT.
Showing off the mobile solar training lab at University of Montana's UC Commons
POWER1.65 kW DC Solar Array
PANELS6 Suniva 275-Watt Solar Modules
INVERTERSchneider Electric, Enphase Energy, SolarEdge, and Fronius
MOUNTSnapNrack Series 100 Universal Roof-Mount System
WARRANTY5 Year Installation Warranty
Excerpts from the Earth Day Rollout Press Release
For Brad Layton, director of Missoula College’s Energy Technology Program, this educational tool fills a major gap for applied, hands-on training to compliment traditional classroom instruction. “We couldn’t be more pleased to see the first mobile solar photovoltaic installation training facility arrive in Missoula during Earth Week 2016. With the support of the National Science Foundation, NorthWestern Energy and our industry partner OnSite Energy, we now have a one-of-a-kind $150,000 state-of-the-art mobile facility for training students and technicians seeking careers in clean energy. This is the first of its kind in Montana and will allow us to compete with other solar PV training centers in Colorado and New Mexico.”
Outside of their Bozeman-based solar installation business, OnSite Energy partner-owners Conor Darby and Orion Thornton have been contract solar instructors; Darby with Missoula College’s Energy Technology Program and Thornton with Colorado’s Solar Energy International. In partnership with Missoula College and other MUS technology programs, they will be working to deepen existing curriculums and to mobilize the training lab for statewide trainings.
"In 2003, I wanted to start working in the solar industry but it was impossible to land a job without technical training. There weren't any training opportunities in Montana, so I took time off and put myself through a month-long program in Colorado,” Darby says, “Working with the Montana Renewable Energy Association, NorthWestern Energy, and Missoula College, OnSite Energy has made it a priority to bring high-quality solar job training to Montana.”
“Solar photovoltaic energy is one of the fastest growing sectors in renewable energy globally. With this new mobile training facility, we will keep hands-on education local, and help move Montana into a leadership position in the renewable energy sector”, Layton added.