Renewable energy workshops offers educational topics


The Appalachian Online

Laney Ruckstuhl

Appalachian State University will host the 14th annual series of Spring Renewable Energy Workshops beginning April 10, which will run through late September.

The workshops’ topics will cover renewable energy and building science-related technologies including photovoltaics, solar-thermal, wind, hydro, energy code training, green building and certifications, indoor environmental quality and support policy, said Janet Miller, workshops coordinator for the Appalachian State Energy Center.

Miller, who has been planning the workshop series for the past three years with help from the Office of Conference and Camp Services, added that the workshops’ instructors are national experts and Appalachian faculty.

Since the first Renewable Energy Workshop series in 2002, Appropriate Technology department program coordinator Dennis Scanlin said there have been over 100 workshops with thousands of participants. Scanlin organized the first series.

Presently, Miller said each workshop tends to have about 10-20 participants, while the more popular ones can have as many as 35.

“The initial idea was to bring in national experts to augment the education we were providing students here at Appalachian, but also simultaneously provide educational opportunities for faculty and others interested in learning more about renewable energy,” Scanlin said.

This year, Miller said the Appalachian State Energy Center received a grant from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers to host two workshops free of charge for K-12 teachers. Teachers will receive a $50 stipend for completion of the workshop.

“We hope this workshop will make it easy for teachers to work renewable energy into their curriculum,” Miller said.

Miller said the series is geared toward professionals who need continuing education credits.

“It is a great way for them to stay up to date on current [green] technologies and stay competitive in their field,” Miller said.

Some of the workshops, however, such as the photovoltaic, solar-thermal, wind and hydro workshops, are suited specifically for students.

Miller suggested interested students look into the Introduction to Photovoltaic System Design and Construction workshop. Photovoltaics is a method of converting solar energy into direct current electricity.

“[The workshop] is a crash course in photovoltaics, where participants learn the basic concepts, tools, techniques and materials needed to design and construct photovoltaic system,” she said.

Registration costs and times vary for each workshop. Specific information can be found on

“The goal is to help educate people about energy related technologies,” Miller said. “[Participants] learn how they can incorporate it into their profession, and make the world a better place.”

Story: Luke Weir, Intern News Reporter