James Madison University

Virginia Small Wind Installer Training Program

ANNOUNCEMENT: We are offering the Permitting and Construction Logistics & Planning modules on July 25th-28th, 2013. If you are interested in participating in this training, please contact us at VAcenter4windenergy@jmu.edu or call 540-568-8770.

Virginia Small Wind Installer Education Center

PHOTO: Installer TrainingIn 2010, the Virginia Center for Wind Energy helped the state to administer a small wind rebate program.  During this time it became evident that there is a limited pool of experienced small wind installers in Virginia to help homeowners, businesses and schools install small wind systems.  Download the list of installers that we worked with during the rebate program (PDF - http://wind.jmu.edu/Qualified Installers.pdf).

The Small Wind Installer Education Center was designed to overcome this need for experienced small wind installers in Virginia.  A series of seven modules on topics related to small wind installations was created by the Virginia Center for Wind Energy at James Madison University and Sustainable Energy Developments, Inc (SED).   After completion of all seven modules of the curriculum, the installer will have all the necessary skills to properly and safely install a small wind turbine. This program will ultimately create more green jobs and add financial growth to the Virginia economy. 

  1. Technical Sales
    This module will address the concepts involved in customer qualifications/evaluations, power performance estimates, capital costing, site assessment and selection, financial analysis of projects, and contracting.
  2. Technology Selection
    This module will address basic wind turbine mechanics, physics of wind energy generation, VAWT vs. HAWT, an industry overview, an overview of the certification process and bodies, system sizing, case studies, the importance of manufacturer-installer relationships, warranties, and installer support.
  3. Permitting
    This module will address how to defend quality projects in the public sphere, FAQs and common misconceptions, model zoning bylaws, timeline and budget expectations, as well as local, state and federal issues or processes.
  4. System Design
    This module will address interconnection/electrical design including load matching, wire sizing, standardized interconnection rules and processes as well as case studies of working with and against utilities.  It will also address mechanical and civil engineering tasks such as site plans and environmental issues, common types of foundations, geotechnical assessments, and construction control/inspections.
  5. Construction Logistics & Planning
    This module will address site and climbing safety, transport and site access, preparations and site layout, lifting techniques and processes, and managing subcontractors.  This module will be very heavy on case studies and stories to illustrate problem solving and experiences.
  6. Operations & Maintenance
    This module will address commissioning, manufacturer relationships and warranties, spare parts, scheduled vs. unscheduled maintenance, costs, budgets, contracts, monitoring and performance assessments, case studies and integrating field work, hands-on field work, diagnostics, trouble shooting and inspections, common problems and repairs, blade repair/replacement, resources, and minimizing life cycle costs (role of the system owner).
  7. Business Planning
    This module will address the importance and common sources of revenues and expenses involved in running an installation business, state and federal policy, stakeholders, and an understanding and vision of the entire project development process.  This module will be taught in coordination with the Virginia Small Business Development Center at JMU.

The curriculum enables current turbine installers, and those interested in joining the field to learn more about how to safely install small wind turbines.  These modules can be taken individually for supplemental education or as a full series for a small wind installer certificate.

If you are an installer or would like to install small wind systems and are interested in participating in this training program, please contact us at VAcenter4windenergy@jmu.edu or call 540-568-8770.

Upcoming Workshops

There no workshops currently scheduled, however we are developing a number of training opportunities at the Small Wind Training and Testing Facility. Check back soon for more information!

Past Workshops

Setting Expectations Webinar 
September 8, 2010 – 10a-2p

Additional Resources