FAQ

Below are answers to questions posed by prospective students.

  • What is LEED certification? 
  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED Certification) is a certification related to buildings meeting certain efficiency criteria and is not directly related to what we are doing in this program.

  • Can a person enter ESS 34 (Advanced Photovoltaic Systems)  if they have not taken ESS 30 or 32?
  • No, one must take ESS 30 (Basic Photovoltaic Systems) and ESS 32 (Intermediate Photovoltaic Systems) in that order before taking PV III (ESS 34).

  • Are there any other pre-requisites for these classes?
  • There are no reading, mathematics or English pre-requisites to enter ESS 30, ESS 32 and ESS 34 .

  • What other courses should prospective students take?
      There are no required courses for students to take prior to entering the program; however, students may find it to their benefit to take any of the following courses:

    1. CTR 60 Residential House Wiring and Codes
    2. CTR 44 Conventional Framing
    3. EST 1 Technical Drafting
    4. EST 2 Technical Drafting II
    5. EST 5 Computer Aided Drafting
    6. EST 20 Architectural Drawing I
    7. ENG 22A Engineering Drawing and CAD
    8. Courses from the Business Entrepreneurship program/certificate also would be beneficial if students are hoping to start their own business related to solar
  • Will there be any assessment of skills?
  • There will be no specific skill testing to enter the program but students will be assessed in the courses for both theoretical and technical competencies, in particular safety skills will be taught and assessed.

  • Will there be a wait list?
  • There will be no wait list for the program.

  • Will there be any adds to this class?
  • As with any Sierra College class if students who have registered do not show up to class, they may lose their seats, thereby creating the potential for other students to add into the course section.  However, given the high level of student interest in this new program, we do not expect many available spots for adding  students.  The add process will involve “drawing names out of a hat” of those students wanting to add who are physically present on the first evening of class.

  • When are you going to start the next ESS 30 (Beginning Photovoltaics) class?
  • The course pattern will be ESS 30  in the fall of 2010, ESS 32 in the spring of 2011 and ESS 34 in the following fall semester (fall 2011), with the hope that students will take internships during the summer.  A series of the courses will start each fall so that fall semesters will include ESS 30 & 34 and spring semesters will include ESS 32.  Available laboratory space and instructors who meet Community College minimum qualifications requirements constrain the number of sections and courses that can be offered.
    This is the initial plan for the first two years of the program at which time we will reassess to see if we are able to add additional offerings.

  • Will students have to wait a year to get in the next ESS 30 class?
  • Once the fall semester has begun, yes the will,  please see the answer to “Will there be any adds to this class?”

  • When can you register for class?
  • Registration for the PV courses will be ongoing and in accordance with the normal registration schedules for any Sierra College course.  Students must apply and be accepted to Sierra College to enroll in the classes, as with all California Community Colleges, Sierra College is an open enrollment institution but all prospective students must complete the application and enrollment process.  For more information please call the Sierra College Counseling department at (916) 660-7400 or go to  the following link: http://www.sierracollege.edu/ApplyRegister/index.html

  • How many students per class?
  • Typical class size for the program is 20 students per section.

  • Are there any complimentary courses for ESS 30?
  • Please see the answer to “What other courses should prospective students take?”above.

  • Are these Engineering Support Technology courses located at both campuses?
  • No, we don’t teach the recommended EST courses at NCC at this time.

  • Will a WIND Turbine class start at S/C?
  • Not in the foreseeable future.

  • Who is hiring for Solar Energy – private or public industry?
  • The industry has slowed with the downturn of the economy but private companies, state and local government and utility companies are/will be looking for trained energy professionals.

  • What textbook will be used for this class?
  • Dunlop, James–Photovoltaic Systems, American Technical Publishers, Inc. 2007.

  • Will there be international opportunities in solar energy?
  • There is an organization that focuses on international opportunities and issues related to the Implementation of Renewable Energy in the Emerging Markets of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.  For more information go to  http://www.bayareacitd.com/.

  • If you want to start up your own solar energy company, do you need to be an electrician?
  • There are requirements related to who has the responsibility on every solar installation.  A certified electrician is needed to sign off on the jobs.

  • Will the third course include stand alone systems?
  • Yes, stand alone, commercial and hybrid systems.

  • Do we have class locations yet?
  • Yes, the labs are located at the Roseville Gateway Center and on the NCC campus  in Grass Valley.

  • Are there courses considered electives?
  • Courses in EST that are CAD related, Engineering 22A, CTR 44 & 60 are the best electives, but a comprehensive list will be compiled as we further develop the program.

  • Will we be receiving a degree from these courses?
  • At this time we are developing a Skills Certificate, it is anticipated to be available starting in the Fall of 2011.

  • If you have an AA or BA Degree in a different discipline, should you get an AA in PV?
  • No, it should be sufficient for you to complete the PV course sequence and pass the NABCEP entry level certificate exam.

  • How often are the NACEP tests offered?
  • Sierra College currently offers the NABCEP entry level certification exam each June and October.

  • How many units per semester?
  • Each course is a 4 unit course. This unit value equates to 3 lecture and 3 lab hours per week for 6 hours/week or 108 total instructional hours in our 16-week semester.

  • What other colleges are offering PV programs in this region?
  • The two nearest programs are located at  American River and Diablo Valley Colleges.