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