Pace’s Solar Panel Workshop Popularity a Testament to National Trend

Unusual mix of professionals to install rooftop solar cells Thursday and Friday at Pace University workshop in White Plains.

Chris Cory, Pace Public Information, 212-346-1117,

Robert Strong, instructor, 917-971-9443,


–Members of the media are welcome to cover the workshop and installation of solar panels. –A list of students and their backgrounds is below.

List of students, staff and others available for interview available upon request. Photos will be posted at

Unusual mix of professionals to install rooftop solar cells Thursday and Friday at Pace University workshop in White Plains

A case study of solar energy outlook in current job market

WHITE PLAINS, NY, January 12, 2010 – What do a former Peace Corps worker, a Harvard undergraduate, an MBA student, a culinary manager, an electrician, a teacher of mathematics and an architectural technician have in

common? This week, they all are learning to design and install solar roof panel arrays, a growing US activity.

Thursday and Friday from 9 to 5 they will install actual panels on a simulated roof on the campus of Pace University Law School at 78 North Broadway in White Plains, NY.

Their class is the first workshop in the subject to be offered by Pace University’s Computer Learning Center under the University’s new “Career Forward” initiative for adults.

Stimulus funds and do-it-yourself

The use of solar photovoltaics (PV) in the United States is growing. In December, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory had compiled over 60,000 PV installations in its Open PV Project database ( Hailing from Westchester County, Yonkers, Queens, and the Bronx, the students, with a wide range of ages, have goals that range from starting solar businesses and expanding current ones to starting new careers.

Federal stimulus funds are paying the way of several, via vouchers from the New York State Department of Labor’s Workforce New York program. The program uses stimulus and other monies to develop and promote a skilled workforce and foster economic growth.

The instructor is Robert W. Strong, an architect who recently discussed photovoltaics on CNBC. He has been a practicing architect for over 20 years, and is a LEED Accredited Professional. In addition to traditional instruction, Strong invites professionals in the field to bring their perspectives to students. They heard over lunch from a marketing executive in a solar panel firm and are visiting an installation now under way in Westchester. The 40 hour, five-day course, which will be repeated, is designed for homeowners as well as contractors, electricians, and those contemplating a career in Solar PV. It also covers the benefits and pitfalls of ‘do-it-yourself’ solar panel installation with the panels that recently have appeared in stores.

Strong told that installing panels could be tricky, and problems such as a leaky roof could arise if the installation isn’t done correctly. A professional electrician is necessary in order to connect the panels to the grid. But he says having panels easily available in stores “is creating public awareness, and that’s wonderful.”

Growth trend

To meet growing interest, additional classes are scheduled for five Saturdays between Feb. 20 and Mar. 20 in White Plains and during the weeks of March 8 to12 (NYC) and April 19 to 23 (White Plains).

This workshop is the first step required toward becoming a NYSERDA-eligible (New York State Energy Research and Development Agency) installer and obtaining certification from the North American Board of Certified Energy Providers. Students will have the option of taking the NABCEP entry level certification exam, which should be helpful in finding employment in the growing field. Pace is a registered provider of this exam for NABCEP.

Building on experience

Over the years Pace has become well known for environmental education, including the work of the new, interdisciplinary Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies. Pace Law School’s environmental program, regularly ranked among the top three in the US, this fall launched the first curriculum in the nation entirely dedicated to climate change, offered within the school’s Masters of Environmental Law (LLM) program. Pace University’s science curriculum is especially strong in issues underlying environmental assessment, policy, and communication.

The solar course covers the basics of designing and installing both a grid-tied system and an off-grid system with battery backup.

Core competencies will include: •Working safety with PV systems •Site assessment •Sizing and designing a system •Adapting a mechanical, electrical & structural design to a specific site •Installing sub-systems and components on site •System review, inspection, commissioning •Maintaining & troubleshooting systems. The course also covers overall system costs, NYSERDA, State and Federal incentives and rebates, net metering, all system components including thin-film sheets and crystal panels, inverters, wiring, connections, roof and ground mounting options and hardware, battery backup and chargers, and output monitoring devices.

By the end of the course, students will be able to: •Analyze site potential, sun exposure, user demand, budget and site constraints •Understand the design and installation of solar PV systems and their components •Understand the National Electric Code requirements & wiring sizing

Prerequisite Courses/Skills Needed: Students are assumed to have a basic knowledge of electricity and possess basic mechanical skills with hand tools.

About Pace University

For 103 years Pace University has produced thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lienhard School of Nursing, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems.

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