Archive for November, 2010


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

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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