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Evaluation

What was the most important/ relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

That the UK having a similar climate to Germany, have delayed a drive in certain policy to meet European carbon reduction targets for persons to become fuel safe until recently. It also highlighted that the UK is generally behind in educating the general population concerning the available technologies and the FIT.

How will you use the experiences/ knowledge?

I plan to be a leading on such courses for Lambeth College, as well as take involvement in commissioning installations in the very near future.

What were the least relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

As I am qualified beyond all electrical levels that might have been offered, I would have to say basic electrical.

What areas of the training could be improved, and how?

Programme: This looked good on paper but in practice there was less practical activity than stated. Consultative planning with persons familiar with UK teaching practice in Gas and electrical courses, could have taken place before the start of this course.

Learning became a little muddled in places. The days were overly long, which generally affected the capacity of some of the apparently more able students to learn more fully, i.e. missing obvious points and constantly going back to previous points, often wasting much time. There should have been exclusion from related units for those who currently hold a UK certificate in any specific area

Preparation: In some parts appeared hap hazard I.e. as if some of the lessons were being created on the spot or the night before. There appeared to be a lack of structure in some places and it was clear more time was needed to bring a good delivery.

Trainers: on the whole were good, with Graham Ancient scoring highly having a good overall knowledge of multiple areas. Subjects were generally well known by lecturers but progress was too often held up by misunderstood concepts appearing to be lost in translation to some of the group..

Workshop materials/ resources: The PV workshop was excellent. The solar thermal demonstration room was well laid out, only to be let down by missing Parts from a solar thermal installation we were to commission. This left me with the feeling that this area has not been properly maintained.

Technical equipment: equipment on the whole was very good, with the PV workshop scoring highly.

How would you like to be involved further (adapting the training, carrying out training, actual installation etc.)?

I will definitely seek to deliver aspects of renewable energy to educate fellow lecturers in the delivery of proposed level 2/3 courses for FE and or wherever this may take me!

I am most interested in the inspection, testing and commissioning of equipment as this is easily transferable with my area of expertise.

Any other comments

I understand there will be problems associated with trying to start a new course or transferring knowledge and skills to the UK. The group at times appeared to differ much in understanding where concepts might have been made clearer by having an initial glossary of terms and all manufactures data presented in English.

For the future it may pay to split the course into 2-levels or an installer/commissioning and specifiers certificate.

Clifford


What was the most important/ relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

Besides all the theory and practice of the renewable technologies covered; understanding the drivers behind their requirement (re the very present and gargantuan issue of climate change) has been by far the most important knowledge to have gained.

It forms the basis and motivational focus for me to push renewables (alongside sufficient insulation) forward into as many homes/premises and ‘lives’ as possible.

How will you use the experiences/ knowledge?

To educate as many interested parties as I come into contact with (re relations, friends, neighbours etc. as well as future and or prospective clients ;0)

**Including any prospect to become a casual trainer in schools and/or adult education centres (voluntary or other)

What were the least relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

How to measure electronic component values with a multi-meter.

What areas of the training could be improved, and how?

Programme:

The provision of an agenda (which subjects on, which days) so as to keep track of progress and to prospectively curb excessive student interjections (as experienced on more that one occasion over the week – that may have been a consequence of miss-understanding translations)

Preparation:

Provision of 2slide per page hand-outs of presentations on or before briefing sessions. Note: viable for ‘concise’ briefings – see below

Trainers:

‘Some’ briefings were regrettably a bit ‘death by vu-foil’ and as such need to be curtailed so as to avoid student shut-down….. (see prep comment above)

Workshop materials/ resources:

A ‘Clamp’ Ammeter (for measuring PV panel short-circuit currents).

An inverter (to complete the PV installation)

Technical equipment:

In-the-field PV test equipment (as demonstrated at Sylvia “Siebert”’s home) re a solar radiation meter and other such systems test equipment.

Herdman


What was the most important/ relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

Solar PV systems – how they work and how to size a system. A very in-depth explanation of the entire process. The second key area was an understanding of U values and how to calculate them. Finally, I had virtually no knowledge of plumbing. I much better understanding of it especially in relation to solar thermal installations.

How will you use the experiences/ knowledge?

I will use the knowledge gain to educate the local community on renewable energy. I will also investigate the possibility of developing decentralised district heating systems for local residents.

What were the least relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

I didn’t feel that there were irrelevant experiences. Some aspects of the training was geared towards those with plumbing skills and other areas to those with electrical skills.

What areas of the training could be improved, and how?

Programme: Would have benefitted from a short practical session (including some basic theory) followed by a more intensive theory session.

Preparation: Documents in English would have helped the learning process.

Trainers: All the trainers were knowledgeable and extremely helpful.

Workshop materials/ resources: More resources would have been useful – especially

testing equipment.

Technical equipment: More hands on with the technical equipment.

How would you like to be involved further (adapting the training, carrying out training, actual installation etc.)?

I have had many years of training in different sections of the education system and would be prepared to assist in restricting the course.

I feel that the trainers on the programme should be brought together at the earliest possible to brainstorm ideas on how the training could be adapted.

Martin


What was the most important/ relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

For me I had no prior experience of electrics and I found this very useful.

How will you use the experiences/ knowledge?

I can directly build on all the knowledge of renewable energy and use this as a solid bases for my future studies. I also had the opportunity of teaching the ecological marketing. Preparing the information for delivering the course cemented the knowledge and gave me a greater understanding of energy.

What were the least relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

It was all relevant and by been here with German installers I got to have a greater understating of how important all aspects of training is.

What areas of the training could be improved, and how?

Programme:

This was a pilot scheme and the programme covered everything that is needed to plan and install a PV, Solar thermal scheme except working form hights which would need to be doe in the UK.

Preparation:

Having the German translated for the handouts from our German trainers would be helpful.

Trainers:

Graham is very knowledgeable in his field and I learnt a lot from him. The German trainers were very knowledgeable and helpful in sharing their years of experience.

Workshop materials/ resources:

Technical equipment:

The training facilities are great. It would have been good to have had UK electrical equipment from the UK as it is single phase.

Any other comments

I would like to thank our German hosts for doing such a great job and making us all feel welcome. The training school and staff were all very friendly despite language difficulties.

Fergal


What was the most important/ relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

Approaching this course with an “Open Mind” I’ve personally learnt about the whole holistic approach to renewable energies and their application to specific conditions with their own benefits/limitations. Important technical / feasibility studies are required to maximise the customer’s expectations, based on sound knowledge of the product as an installer. Having attended Logic and Bpec courses prior to this course I am now more comfortable with the subject matter and my understanding has improved considerably.

How will you use the experiences/ knowledge?

Building on the knowledge gained and the intention to complete the outstanding module in 2011. My intention is to develop a business based in the renewable energy market as an approved MCS installer. Marketing renewable energy on sound technical and product knowledge so that customers are provided with a clear and informed solution to their future energy requirements locally sourced and maintained by someone they can trust and recommend to potential customers. The fast pace at which this area is moving will of course mean continued skill upgrading. Part time lecturing of the subject also appeals – giving accurate information to interested parties.

What were the least relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

Struggle to provide any negative feedback on the overall experience and delivery of the syllabus as I personally enjoyed the whole programme both academically and socially. Considerable effort was required prior to the course by everyone involved in the course preparation and this was maintained throughout the delivery of the course by all the lecturing /administration staff (English/German) even when long hours and constant demands by the delegates may have broken the spirit of lesser mortals.

What areas of the training could be improved, and how?

Programme:

The intensity of the course programme was a good factor as it constantly kept the delegates focused; The programme content was relevant up to date and delivered professionally. Others may disagree as some delegates have experience of lecturing back in the UK, comments by others need to considered against their own students Known abilities which may vary widely from the course delegates.

Preparation:

Overall the course preparation was excellent. Information provided by the German Lecturers in hand-outs would have been better in English obviously but that’s a given. With hindsight and a greater lead in period for the delegates both textbooks that were used as reference manuals throughout the course ought to be dispatched prior to the course commencing enabling delegates to pre read the course material with the advantage of avoiding basic rudimentary queries .

Trainers:

Both the Old Fart (literally) and the mad Irish Man (Fergal the Rock) provided hours of entertainment well worth a summer season at the end of Hastings Pier. German lecturers were professional and maintained consistent delivery of the course even with the constant translation interface. Provision in the future for additional lecturers for the course delivery would be beneficial in light of Graham’s cold at the course commencement. I take the opportunity to congratulate Fergal on his virgin lecture tour – deserves an honory (in his own words- quite literally A).

Workshop materials/ resources:

Adequate workshop materials/resources were available for the course delivery as a whole; Additional working rigs of thermal and solar installations together with ground source heat pumps would have helped delegates unfamiliar with the systems.

Technical equipment:

Electrical /thermal solar sessions held at the college were good. Visit to Solar world provided an exceptional opportunity to view the solar panel manufacturing process.

Only minor criticism would be that the programmer on the flat panel installation was not working and therefore we were unable to fully commission the installation. Sufficient resources were made available for the number of delegates.

Any other comments

Just like to take the opportunity to congratulate everyone involved with the preparation of the course (Dirk, Graham &Fergal); Timo complemented your efforts at the college.

Really good mixture of delegates from various backgrounds with diverse levels of experiences which contributed to a lively group that worked well as individuals and a team when required.

Accommodation fantastic – real home from home.

Looking forward to February already.

Kelvin


What was the most important/ relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

The very important aspect of calculating the size of panels and the amount of power generated to make the system function and perform to the clients needs , to gain the most from the Feed in Tariffs.

How will you use the experiences/ knowledge?

To help my employer to establish a training centre if possible and to help deliver the new units on Level 3 plumbing courses which will entail renewable energy units.

What were the least relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained? Using already established fixing methods of panels which are similar to industry practice, but it only a minor thing.

What areas of the training could be improved, and how?

Programme:The provision for translating and in particular the more technical terms used may need a translator with a knowledge in that area. The programme may also need more practical input and also more practice in sizing panels and inverters. My type of learning is to be shown more practical methods but that is down to my own personal preference.

Preparation: We will have more understanding of this further down the line when it comes to putting the training into practice. The flights transfers and accommodation were excellent, and the learning centre too.

Trainers: Good experienced people who gave us excellent information and the virtue of their long term knowledge. They have their own businesses also and therefore they have excellent first hand knowledge of installations and design.

Workshop materials/ resources: Very good to get a simulated version of the practical problems that may arise in an installation scenario. The trainers also gave help in this area to show time saving methods and save making costly mistakes.

Technical equipment: Very good resources particularly in the testing equipment, very good roof simulations on the panel installations. The tools were also excellent and the equipment that the trainers brought was very good in particular the bespoke pumping , testing draining machinery.

Any other comments

Thanks for inviting me and I’m delighted to have participated in this course and would be more than happy to continue on this.

Michael


What was the most important/ relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

It was very good to learn and take it to practice. It is very important to train people properly as health and safety is the most important part. And all installations must be safe for everyone.

It is a very good input for the future in environment and for business.

How will you use the experiences/ knowledge?

I have started a business with my partner in renewable energy this year and happy to work on it too.

Any other comments

Thank you very much for this opportunity in taking part of this project. It was a very big experience for my future.

Wayne


What was the most important/ relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

The importance of educating people about what is really happening and what they can do to help by embracing renewable energies. I had a basic understanding of being green; I now understand the complete picture and how important it is to adopt these methods.

How will you use the experiences/ knowledge?

From the start I planned to have a green side to my business both advising and installing renewable energies and I now have the knowledge to do this. My clients will be better informed about how to make energy savings.

What were the least relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

PV but purely because I’m not electrically qualified. Everything was relevant!

What areas of the training could be improved, and how?

Programme:

I honestly thought the programme was spot on. I thought it would be purely learning about designing and installing solar. I really like the fact it covered ecology, energy, pollution etc. This really gave meaning to the technologies we learnt about.

Preparation:

In the future when the scheme is in place everything will be prepared in advance I would imagine. Preparation over the last 4 weeks was good; improvements could have been made to some of the test we sat, as some were very confusing at times. On a few occasions we wasted time in the morning waiting for photocopies etc

Trainers:

Brilliant! To have four trainers that are so passionate about the areas they teach really works well. In the past I have been taught by people that teach because it’s a job. I think it is so important for the future of the programmes to have tutors with the passion that we have experienced this month.

Workshop materials/ resources:

I would have like to have been set more scenarios so that I could apply the knowledge learnt to dummy situations.

Workshops could have been improved; I would have liked to have installed a complete installation from start to finish, not just placing panels on fake roofs.

More fault finding and maintenance too would have been helpful.

Any other comments

Being away from home/distractions helped with the studying immensely. I’m not sure how possible this would be back home to keep everyone together during the week returning at weekends – I don’t know but I think it would definitely help.

I would value advice on where to go next, how to get involved in renewables, career advice etc.

Having the Solar books before arriving so we could have a little swat up before.

Lastly I would like to say a big thanks for the last 4 weeks, it has been a fantastic month and I have learnt so much, I hope I’m able to come back for the last 2 weeks of the qualification, if so can I request early Feb as my wife is expecting our first child towards the end of March.

All the best and please get in touch in the future.

Sam


What was the most important/ relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

The Solar Thermal theory and practical experience.

How will you use the experiences/ knowledge?

I intend to work within the renewable energy industry as an installer, aiming for MCS accreditation primarily for Solar Thermal, but eventually for PV and Heat Pumps.

The experience I have gained has undoubtedly provided an understanding of the range of renewable technologies, which will enable me to provide informed advice to customers.

What were the least relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

I believe that all the experiences were relevant. Even though I am a plumber, I will still use the Solar PV training when talking to and informing customers on renewable energy options.

What areas of the training could be improved, and how?

Programme:

There was a mix of theory and practical although the balance was very skewed towards the theory. I would have liked more time in the workshop.

A well structured series of theory and practical lessons (Scheme of Work) could be developed. The theory and practical sessions need to compliment each other in order to reinforce the learning.

All sessions need have clear objectives for learning in order for the learning to flow from session to session. This is important when time is limited. Less structured learning sessions could still be scheduled into the programme.

Preparation:

A pre course reading list or material could be provided. Especially in the plumbing / electrical principles and theory.

Trainers: We were very lucky to have a series of trainers, each with a vast experience in the field. I would hope that future trainees are guaranteed trainers with a minimum amount of practical experience.

Despite our hard working translators there were at times obvious language difficulties which resulted in some things being “lost in translation”. This might be reduced with further preparation for translators in the technical language used. This may still be a consideration once the course is transferred to the UK, if European experts are used.

Any other comments

This was a fantastic course and experience overall and I am very happy to have been involved in this pilot course. I am interested in being involved in further development of the project and any other relevant work Embrace is planning for the future, if required.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in bringing this project to life.

Sincerely,

Will

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Week 3


We had a trip to Solar World manufacturing plant in Freiberg. They produce 1/5 of the worlds PV wafers and every year reinvest in research and development. We got to see the manufacturing of photovoltaic panels from smouldering raw silicon to complete panels.

We saw how to test a PV system after in has been installed and how to check the performance output against the design output.

This level of detail is vital to optimize a system and to check that it has been installed correctly and without faults. I learnt that it is advisable to get use to a few different types of framing systems and not to keep changing just because there are cheaper ones on the market. They all have different characteristics and you need to learn about them and the panels. Also we learnt how to check the performance curves of a PV panel and how to calculate the peak power output.

We started solar thermal by going over basic plumbing. When you do a LOGIC or similar course in the UK it is only 2-3 days. We practiced on training rig roofs installing panels. We never got to do this in the UK. So far the experience has been very interesting. The fact that we are located in an area where they take renewable energy serious is quite inspirational. When we go on trips you keep passing large PV installations, wind farms and biogas plants.

Fergal McEntee

We visited Siebert and Solar World. The manufacturing of the panel was very interesting. The most interesting lesson has to be Solar Thermal. The removal and reinstallation of both PV panels and Solar thermal panels. The instruction this week has been in English. There was a need for students to understand first principles before they move onto the more relevant areas of the different topics.

Graham Ancient

This weeks highlight was going to Syvia, the German’s electrical tutors solar house and also visiting solar world. This week’s most interested lesson was the practical lesson of installing solar PV and solar thermal on a pre fix roof. All the work shop session is relevant to my current job and could be beneficial for future work.

Inca

Slyvia together with her husband and employees showed true grit and enthusiasm when we visited their home/office set up. The warmth and practical tips for panel installation certainly made up for the wet/cold conditions and the BBQ sausages were very nice too. The whole Solarworld visit provided visual representation of the theory that we’ve learnt and demystified the magical – smoke and mirror routine surrounding solar panels. On the practical side of the installation, the very short period spent with Slyvia’s Husband answered so many of the those little questions that can only be addressed by installers who have carried installations, i.e. which products

/ systems to use and those to avoid. Practical experience of removing and reinstalling both solar panels and solar thermal panels provided valuable information in respect of resources/plant and functionality of products

Basic plumbing principle sessions provided a good recap for those familiar with plumbing and also a good foundation for the electricians amongst the group. I must complement Timo for his driving on Tuesday – torrential rain most of the day which didn’t phase him at all even with the Three Brits as passengers. The lack of German/Translation has given the week a somewhat quieter atmosphere which was appropriate with qthe various colds/Man flu floating around. Graham and Fergal have provided good sessions with pace and clear informative slides. The group has remained interested throughout the course delivery.

Kelvin Jones


This week’s highlight has been the practical exercises. Decommissioning and commissioning a solar PV and solar thermal array enabled me to develop a better understanding of some of the pitfalls involved in the installation process. It also emphasised the need for adequate planning and preparation, and gave a new dimension to the theoretical sessions. Our visit to Siebert Regenerative Energiesysteme was very useful as it demonstrated best practice from an experience installation engineer.

Our instructor described a range of systems for mounting solar PV systems and their ancillary equipment. His suggestion was to pick one or two trusted systems and stick with them for client installation. The obvious benefit of this approach is that you become familiar with the system installation methods and you are more likely to have spare parts when needed.

I can honestly say that my understanding of how each system works, and fits together has become more holistic. I can’t really say which session was the most relevant because everything was relevant. I think that the customer satisfaction theme running throughout the workshops has been beneficial, as it has made me think carefully about the quality of advice, installation and service given to customers.The overall teaching has been very good.

Martin Abraham

We visited Sylvia’s house/business (Siebert Energy) and Solar World, to see how systems actually work and are manufactured. Sylvia’s husband gave an example of how to fix panels and how to use fittings in a site simulation. The example of how to fit panels and utilise the resources and components available was excellent.

The visit to Solar World to see from start to finish (where possible) the manufacturing of panels and the technology involved was an eye opener. The value of planning and preparation of the design of systems and making the necessary calculations is very important. This can save money and time which is a benefit to the business and customer.

The install and removal of both the P.V. and Solar Thermal panels was very informative and a very useful experience. From a completely selfish point of view I would like more practical experience of installations and the calculations that need to be made to ensure a good standard of work. I do understand this is not always a practical thing to do regards resources and time.

Michael Starrs

The Energy Presentation was very informative and very big eye opener. Very interesting to see how much energy you actually use and waste in a year. It was very interesting to see other systems and that you have to use a few systems you are competent with and adjust them to your business.

I can use the information and past it on to my customers, to help selling and the expanse of the renewable marked in the UK. It is very informative and it will help a lot to build my business in the best and most efficient way.

Oliver Baumann

This week we spent time in the workshop looking at the various components that make up a Solar Thermal array. Going over key plumbing principles again, it’s good to remind yourself about these as often they are forgotten despite them being the foundations of what we do. How Solar Thermal is so more complex than Solar PV, I had not really thought about the system too much until this week. It follows the same principle almost as PV but the mechanics are so much more complicated, there is a lot more to consider. . At this present time the solar thermal is more relevant as a plumber, the workshops showed me how hard these panels are to get onto a roof.

 

Working with trained roofers will be a very important aspect along with insuring rigorous safety procedures are in place. .It would be good to have regular updates on how we are tracking against the Solarteur curriculum, I appreciate it’s a pilot scheme but other than seeing the Solarteur logo around the college the training seems to be somewhat removed. Intensity has dropped off this week compared with last week; we are only here for 4 weeks so I would like to see the intensity maintained.

Sam Sparks

We were very honored this week to be invited by our Solarteur Lecturer Silvia to visit her home, where we were shown her installations of PV and Solar Thermal Systems. Her Husband and employees gave demonstrations on how to use different bracket systems and how to check the performance of a Solar PV array. The same day we were given a tour of the Solar World factory. It was a fantastic opportunity to view the manufacturing process, starting with the silicon blocks and slicing of the wafers, right through to the completed solar panels. Working in small teams we have decommissioned and reinstalled both Solar Thermal and Solar PV systems on the roof rigs at the college. These workshop sessions have been an invaluable experience, since having hands on experience is an essential part of training for any practical vocation. The classroom sessions are very in depth and provide the high level of expertise that is required of this new industry. The value of this training would be greatly reduced if the course did not provide the practical training to match the high level of academic learning. Within a group people who have chosen this career, I will not be alone in feeling that reading and looking at pictures while important, is no substitute for Visual and Kinaesthetic learning. We have been away for three weeks now, I am still amazed and pleased at how well this group of strangers is getting along. I’m looking forward to the going to play skittles on Friday evening.

Will


The most efficient (in terms of performance and installation) Solar Thermal systems utilise ‘evacuated-tubes’ and, that to get the most out of any such system is to have them integrated into the ‘coldest’ part of your DHW cylinder.

Learning the practicalities of fabricating and installing PV rail systems from a seasoned installer and, how to use panel performance testing equipment. Being able to dismantle and re-build mock installations (both PV and Solar Thermal) this week compliments class-room theory learning. Excluding the bending, brazing and mounting of Solar Thermal pipe work and, sighting of PV panels outside; it would be great if it were possible to spend say two, two day sessions (as say two 5 man teams) installing and commissioning ‘complete’ PV and Solar Thermal systems (i.e. to include the PV cabling to an inverter and, charging/filling and flow-rate adjusting to a cylinder respectfully).

Craig Herdman

Week 2

We have a highly experienced electronic engineer who has had her own renewable energy company for the last 20 years. She has been out tutor and is sharing a wealth of knowledge with us in not only installation but also in running a renewable energy business. The most relevant lesson to me was sizing PV systems to achieve the best yield and matching with inverter size to optimize kW peat output. This is not taken into consideration in the UK as we rely on sizing programs to do the calculations that produce averaged results. By checking manually you can finely tune the system to achieve a greater yield.

The main difference between English and German teaching methods is the in-depth level they go into in PV theory for installers. They want you to understand how the whole system works instead of what you need to get by. This gives a greater over all understanding and makes it easier to spot potential faults and problems even before installing any PV systems.

Fergal McEntee

Unfortunately translation was the main stumbling factor. Although Sylvia/Jacqueline worked very well together there was a distinct lack of coordination prior to the lecture between both individuals which lead to several interruptions while words and technical phrases were qualified in front of the delegates! It was obvious from the start of the week that Sylvia although very knowledgeable has no

Formal lecturing experience, which detracted from her enthusiasm and passion for the subject.

Graham and Fergal although under considerable pressure delivered the quantity and quality necessary. One point is the lack of feedback following the recent electrical exam on Saturday morning, resulting in several concerns by delegates raised regarding their personal progress. The group as a whole are working well together with irregular periods of open discussion curtailed quickly by the group. Future courses would benefit from workshops involving the lectures co-ordinating the topics and establishing targets to be achieved

Kelvin Jones

Having an installation designer and engineer gives us the benefit of their experience, which has been built up over a significant number of years. She has a passion for renewable energy that is admirable.

An important lesson was the absolutely crucial element of designing, planning and preparing for P.V. installation and having learned lessons from previous unscrupulous suppliers and contractors. This can be a very expensive if it is not monitored and checked properly.

The importance of planning, designing and preparing the work to be done , making sure suppliers do what they are supposed to , checking the validity of materials and equipment to be supplied. The delivery of the course in an educational manner will also need significant resources and planning.

For some of the non teaching people they have a slightly different agenda in regards to the knowledge they want to get from this course, from a selfish teaching point of view we have labored the point in some occasions.

Michael Starrs

The highlight has only just occurred, – in a post dinner group revision session, I managed to explain a complex concept. I then realized that I knew more than I thought I did.

It is difficult to pin point a specific lesson in which I have learned this week. I have found the teaching difficult to follow at times. Lessons have been lacking clear Learning Objectives and the learning has therefore been lacking direction and momentum. Questions for the teacher have been irrelevant to the  “aim” of the lesson; because we as students have been unsure where the lesson is going and what we should know at the end of each lesson.

This has been an interesting and intense week. The content of the course is exactly what is needed of training in the UK and the strength of the group is fantastic.

Will March

We finally got a solar panel into the classroom for some basic testing of open and short circuit parameters.

We learnt that bi-pass diodes keep the panel working when cells are damaged or covered with things such as bird excrement, shading etc…

Graham delivered his lessons well prior to this week.  His German counterparts were ill prepared for delivery, or so it seemed.  Proper planning of the lessons would have helped tremendously, handouts explaining concepts clearly were not offered.

There was markedly less workshop activity than indicated on the syllabus.

Data given for consideration should have been in English, regulations should have been related to the UK and not Germany for relevance, proper handouts were non-existent preventing the flow of lessons

Clifford Dennis

Week two: a change of week and a change of topic. The solar pv sessions have been very informative and detailed. I learnt a lot about the construction, operation and testing of solar pv cells. I had a particular interest in covering site surveys. All the information necessary was provided, and I feel confident enough to undertake a site survey on a property.

The most interesting parts of the week have been the testing of solar pv modules and the sizing of inverters. These are practical skills, that have provide a foundation to gain more experience in the sizing, installation and testing of solar py systems when I get back to the UK.

All aspects of this week have been highly relevant in regards to my job. The tutor is extremely knowledgeable in her field and has passed on a number of suggestions and tips for best practice. The workshops have concentrated on showing us how to provide a quality service for both potential and actual customers and have highlighted pitfalls that other solar pv installers have encountered.

Teaching during the week has been to a high standard. However, the issue of translation has made the process of evaluation difficult. Personally, I felt physically drained having to concentrate on having to process two sets of the same information – one in German and the other in English. Having said that, the information delivered by the tutor, surpassed anything that could be obtained from reading a text book.

I think that I would benefit from having a work book to accompany the handouts/textbook. This would provide an opportunity for me to practice sample questions in my own time. A copy of each day’s lesson topic would be appreciated. I could prepare in advance – cover more ground and ultimately maximise my learning experience.

Martin Abraham

The second week is being very interesting, learning the basics of how electrons and protons are formed, how sand is transformed into silicon, learning more about ecology and how it affects the world.

Learning the I-V curve, particularly the graphs. And calculation of p=v*I, temperature e.t.c

The most interesting lesson for me is the designing of the installation. Taking into the account of the roof type, the size of the roof, the weight of the roof, the type of the installation, the type of the module to be used e.tc.

Also carefully analyzing and calculating the figures.All the principle we covered does relate to my work. There isn’t much of a different expect for the fact that the Germans uses Three phase but the British uses single phases for domestics. And their tariff is also different to ours.

The public in the UK simply aren’t educated enough about renewable technologies and their potential.  The only time the mass public come face to face with anything green is through recycling which for many is a hassle they would rather not have.   I believe basic lessons in ecology and how renewable technologies work, would change many peoples opinions.   Certainly talking to my parents and their friends there is a basic lack of understanding, seeing green technologies as something less important than say healthcare, education, crime etc when in fact if more was spent on green ideas it would help many of the problems the country has.

Inca Williams

Week 1

The highlight of the week has been visiting a fire station with renewable energy systems integral to its design. This building used a combination of technologies and it was interesting to see actual energy production figures, compared to the predicted figures. The building was owned by a community group and it was inspiring to see what such a group can achieve.

As a plumber it has been essentially important to have the opportunity to learn / revise basic electrics before we go on through the course. The course includes not only theory and practical sessions, but also gives a detailed insight into the causes of climate change, together with current legislation and regulations.

Every workshop has been relevant to what I see myself doing in the future. Whatever field of work you come from, this is a holistic course, which will have everyone involved in renewable energy working from the same page.

Will March

It was very interesting to see the concept at the Fire Station, energy lost and gained with insulation, the building regulations with the different codes and ratings. The Global Carbon Chart was very interesting. To see the truth of pollution and global warming, what you never hear in the media.

Oliver  Baumann

The visit to the very efficient renewable energy Fire Station at Ellenfeld was a great  chance to see renewable energy working in a practical situation. The design engineer was on site to explain the actual working of the different plant and equipment. She also explained how the community play a major part of the decision making and have also been allowed to use the fire station for community purposes. It is being used more often than initially intended, proving  it is a success.

The field trip to the fire station to see a working example of a renewable energy system. The design engineer used the money saving to show the use and benefits of renewable energy, to be able to ask her questions directly was also a benefit.

Michael Starrs

This week’s highlight is being interesting. The exhibition around the placement showing installation of solar thermal and solar pv and how effiencient it is to save energy.

The tour round the local fire station has been a good eye opener to how the solar energy can be converted from sun to generating heat in the building, and from wind to room temperature can be measured and reused.

That China isn’t the polluting, not willing to embrace new ideas nation the press portray them to be, my opinion has swung the opposite way!

All the lessons has been interesting. From the buildings regulation to the impact of co2 emission in the different part of country, the global carbon charts and I have enjoyed the theory of understanding  the prediction of the estimated values by the government

The installation of solar thermal pv panel and the inspecting and testing of the equipment.

I believe basic lessons in ecology and how renewable technologies work, would change many peoples opinions.   Certainly talking to my parents and their friends there is a basic lack of understanding, seeing green technologies as something less important than say healthcare, education, crime etc when in fact if more was spent on green ideas it would help many of the problems the country has.

I think everyone should be educated about the solar thermal. Its true that few people are ignorant to the fact of renewable energy source been used, the government should enforce the potential advantages of solar energy as part of school programs. Maybe right from primary school just like maths and English. Because its can recreate opportunity for jobs worldwide.

Inca Williams

We did an excursion to an installation in a local fire station. It had a lot of thought and a clever design to make it as environmentally friendly and cost effective as possible. They compared several different micro generation systems and heating systems. In the end they use a combined PV system with integrated air warming system to provide space heating.

That China per person emits over 50% less carbon then the UK and 75% less then USA. The history of carbon and the different outputs from different countries has opened up my eyes to the responsibility we have to developing nations and with the UK climate change bill recently passed we are helping to lead the way.

Fergal McEntee

 

The public in the UK simply aren’t educated enough about renewable technologies and their potential. The only time
the mass public come face to face with anything green is through recycling which for many is a hassle they would
rather not have. I believe basic lessons in ecology and how renewable technologies work, would change many
peoples opinions. Certainly talking to my parents and their friends there is a basic lack of understanding, seeing green
technologies as something less important than say healthcare, education, crime etc when in fact if more was spent on
green ideas it would help many of the problems the country has.

 

Sam Sparks