Dear Alumni and Friends,

Happy Solstice!

Winter has officially arrived in Colorado. While there are just a few patches of snow throughout our PV training campus in Paonia, the mountains are already deep in snow. There’s a cautious optimism that the snowpack will continue throughout the winter, which in spring and summer, provides water for drinking, irrigation for local farms, and outdoor adventures.

We often get asked the question, “So what do you do in the winter? Does SEI just shut down?” December is our busiest planning month of the year. As an organization, we just finalized our Strategic Plan and our 2019 budget, to be approved by our Board of Directors in January. Our Curriculum team is busy developing new training, including the next iteration of PV-specific OSHA training; new multimode and microgrid curriculum; and translating our PV202: Advanced PV System Design and the NEC into Spanish! Our Program Hispano and Middle East and Africa teams are busily mapping out the many trainings we’ll be offering in these regions. Our Student Services and Marketing teams are brainstorming new ways to improve the student experience.  Our Development team just wrapped up the annual end-of-year appeal. (Check your mailboxes!)

I’m so incredibly grateful for our board, staff, and instructors (we now number about 100!) who have made 2018 so successful. We’ve exceeded over 65,000 alumni who have taken training with us! We opened two international campuses (Oman and Costa Rica) to expand access to our training, launched the first PV-specific OSHA training (delivered for free to over 3000 of you), are helping to spread solar throughout rural Colorado through Solar Forward, launched a $2million capital campaign, and ensured that no person who wanted training was denied.

SEI’s success is a symptom of a much greater movement that’s happening across the world, and what is happening in Colorado demonstrates this.  Colorado has been the epicenter of a pivotal shift in the energy industry. From a groundbreaking announcement of the state’s largest utility moving to zero carbon emissions by 2050 followed by a municipal utility making a similar pledge, to a rural electric cooperative in the West asking state regulators to weigh in on a fair exit fee from their coal-heavy electricity supplier, the powerful moves made this week toward a future powered by renewable energy have the potential to reverberate impact across the country and the world.

SEI’s vision is complexly simple. We envision a world powered by renewable energy. As an organization we realize that it doesn’t matter to us why people come to us for training. Whether it’s a career change, to start a business, to combat global warming, to be self-reliant or to be on the cusp of a new technology. Renewable energy is neither Republican or Democrat or Tea Party or Green Party, though it may be played as such. For us, the ultimate end goal is a world powered by renewable energy.

And to reach this vision, SEI’s mission is to provide industry-leading technical training in renewable energy to empower people, communities and businesses worldwide. To reach our vision, we have to have systems that are properly sold, designed, installed, and maintained to avoid repeating the lessons of previous decades. In this rapidly evolving industry, it’s our mission to provide people with the training that they need, no matter what size or type of system they specialize in. This training, as our alumni know first-hand, is empowering. Whether you become a more knowledgeable homeowner or start a new career, develop or grow a business, or work with a community in the developing world- SEI’s training is designed to serve you.

As this year quickly comes to a close, on behalf of all of us at Solar Energy International, we wish you a Happy 2019. May your year be sunny, your systems trouble-free, and your work fulfilling. Thank you for being an alumni and friend of SEI.



Kathryn Swartz

Executive Director