Student Review of “Boots on the Roof” Part 2

Part 2.
In our 2nd week of class the solar photovoltaic was indeed more extensive.  It was split up between 2 instructors, Kevin Kennedy and Mike Arenson.  Kevin Kennedy had years of experience in installation and sales, but seemed to have a stronger background in sales.  Mike had a strong background in installation and the technical part while having a NABCEP entry level  and 1st level certification apparently.  We had lecture notes and we were given the book Photovoltaic Systems 2nd edition by Jame P. Dunlop.  There were more labs broken up into parts of how to use a solar pathfinder, the basic and electric one.  We also were able to construct arrays to power little water pumps and fans.  We also got to install some panels on a fake roof with different brackets.  We went over marketing, and sales, costs, sizing, different brands, how to choose a module, and all the basics of installation and business at a decent level.  However, what I would have liked was a start to finish installation all at one time instead of broken up into parts. One would still need in the field experience to provide a better understanding than going out straight to install it after a weeks worth of class, at least from my standpoint.  Others with more construction background may feel otherwise perhaps. 
The 3rd week, well lets face it, its been a long 2 weeks so far of class from m-f 8am-5pm and review and testing on sat.  We still pushed through but at a little slower pace.  Many felt that solar thermal was the most difficult and wished it was at the beginning when we were more fresh.  The class was taught by Kevin Kennedy again.  There seemed to be many examples of solar thermal collectors.  We once again went over the usual basics.  We practiced installing some solar thermal collectors in lab and got to dissect and put back together some solar thermal water-heaters.  Once again everything was broken up into parts and we didn’t go over it as a whole process. 
As far as I know, one person was hired into Solar City as a Junior PV, however that was arranged before he went through the class.   The rest plan on using the knowledge for starting up a business or using information in the government for incentives.  The 2nd week was a full class ranging from people who were contractors already, government people working in the incentive area, engineers, and business owners adding it to their company. 
The strongest thing about boots on the roof seems to be their bringing in people to teach the class who are already in the field.  As well as their marketing and bringing people in who are good to network with.  How to compare it with a college classes such as in Traverse City, Mi, I can only assume in a college class one would be paired up with college kids as opposed to professionals using these bits of date to retrofit with or use it in commercial.  That’s just a guess though at this point.
I’m still working on the 1 month externship,but they seem to have a high turnover rate in the administration area.  So I’ve also signed up for a volunteer program called Grid Alternative and trying to get into that.  It is separate from the Boots on the Roof program.  It is a program in California that works with workforces and individuals and puts them on installation projects throughout California to get valuable experience in installing systems.  Something I wish more states did.  Here’s their website-
 More info on Boots on the Roof can be found at
That’s all for now.
-Chris Lim