REN@EARTH fills gap in renewable energy training for professionals in Central America

Filed Under: EARTH Stories
Date: May 29th, 2012

This May, twenty engineers and technicians from Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Panama participated in a training course on photovoltaic systems (PV) offered on the EARTH campus. This course is part of REN@EARTH, a joint project between EARTH and The Renewables Academy in Berlin (RENAC) with financing from the German Ministry of Environment (BMU) to promote renewable energies in rural areas in Central America.

The course was held at EARTH’s Renewable Energies Laboratory, the first of its kind in Central America built in 2011 to help train EARTH students, as well as technicians and engineers from the region in solar, thermal, wind, geothermal, hydraulic and biomass energy.

Esteban Bermudez from Costa Rica attended the training and thinks that there is a need in Central America for professionals and technicians trained in renewable energies, and that a course like this is very necessary in the region.

“Before this laboratory, in order to attend courses like this you had to go to institutions outside Central America,” said Bermúdez.

The seminars focused on the technical aspects of photovoltaic system design, installation and operation. Participants developed specialized knowledge in theory and practice from three experts: Sigrid Quisbrok, José Alfredo Girón y Maximiliano Lainfiesta.

Quisbrok studied Biology at the University of Bielefeld and Sorbonne Paris. She has vast experience in photovoltaic energy and in 2011 founded her own consulting company.

The Guatemalan José Alfredo Girón has more than 10 years of experience leading projects related to solar energy. He was impressed with the renewable energy laboratory at EARTH. He believes these facilities are essential for fostering a true understanding of concepts during the training.

“The lab is impressive–one-of-a-kind in the region for studying solar energy. This is very important because students learn by doing what they see in classroom,” concludes Girón.

In addition to providing training seminars for professionals in the region, the University also offers an elective course to its students on renewable energy systems for rural areas.

“REN@EARTH is giving professionals in Latin America and EARTH students access to training in state-of-the-art renewable energy technologies that are scalable and feasible for implementation in rural communities. With this laboratory, we are preparing a cadre of professionals capable of promoting climate-neutral energy models around the world” commented EARTH Professor Bert Kohlmann, coordinator of the REN@EARTH program at EARTH.