If you read the news back in September, you saw that the US Department of State awarded Solar Energy International (SEI) $190,000 to be a part of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA). At the April 2009 Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, leaders of the Western Hemisphere underscored the fact that energy and climate change are among the most important issues confronting our future and reaffirmed their commitment to work together towards a clean energy future.
Responding to these shared challenges, U.S. President Obama invited all governments in the Western Hemisphere to join in an Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA). President Obama said, “Our hemisphere has bountiful natural resources that could make renewable energy plentiful and sustainable, while creating jobs for our people.” An Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas, he said, “will help us learn from one another, share technologies, leverage investment, and maximize our comparative advantage.”
When he invited countries to participate in ECPA, President Obama suggested ECPA focus on energy efficiency, renewable energy, cleaner and more efficient use of fossil fuels, energy poverty, and infrastructure. In the first year, nearly a dozen initiatives and projects began under ECPA in these areas.
This project will be modeled after SEI’s successful Solar Professionals Certificate Program that prepares technical professionals through rigorous solar training requirements and networking opportunities. The entire program will be taught in Spanish. We are calling this targeted training program the Academia de Profesionales Solares de las Americas (APSA), or Solar Professionals Academy of the Americas, in English.
The project theme of the APSA is “Mobilizing the Private Sector to Influence Legal/Regulatory Environment & Public Awareness”. The APSA will train 50 people, representing countries and communities throughout Central America, to design, install, and maintain solar PV energy systems and to successfully launch and administer businesses in this critically important industry. Participants accepted into the program will be enrolled in SEI’s Spanish PV online courses, FV101 and FV203 PREP which will cover grid-connected and battery-based PV system education. After completion of the online courses, there will be a six-day hands-on PV workshop in Central America. This 6-day workshop will also feature expert presentations on micro-enterprise and business entrepreneurship in the Americas.
As the Project Manager for this initiative, I am very excited to work on such an ambitious agenda, and to work in collaboration with Central Americans and our partners across the region to increase the awareness and availability of solar PV technology. We are in the first phase of our planning, working on many of the logistics and collaborations to make this initiative a success. By January 15, 2013 we will have a landing page on the SEI website explaining the program in detail. In addition, on January 15th the application process will open for people living and working in Central America who would like to apply to be a part of the Academia de Profesionales Solares de las Americas.
This is an exciting opportunity for SEI, its Spanish PV Program, and for Central America. If you have any questions about the APSA or the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas, stay tuned to the SEI website for our official project launch on January 15, 2013. You may also contact me with questions or opportunities for collaboration.
For a cleaner energy future,
Academia de Profesionales Solares de las Americas Project Manager