Pellissippi solar photovoltaics grad on edge of new trend

Paul Shire has been with Sun Electric for 19 years. The longtime electrician and field superintendent for the local company knows the business. He recognizes the shift toward solar electricity and has taken action to respond to the growing demand.

Shire is a recent graduate of the Solar Photovoltaic Training series offered by Pellissippi State Community College’s Business and Community Services. Solar photovoltaics is a technology that uses solar cells to capture the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity.

The group of four courses begins with the 16-hour Introduction to Solar Photovoltaics. The introduction and two other courses, Math for Industry (12 hours) and Basic Electricity and Electronics (12 hours), lay the foundation for the 56-hour Photovoltaic System Design and Installation class. The first three courses are prerequisites for the last.

In the design and installation course, the seven days on site with other students and an experienced instructor provided a solid foundation in solar training, Shire said: “I was impressed. The instructor was very knowledgeable. I’m looking forward to getting more Knoxvillians thinking toward alternative ways to power homes and commercial buildings. The more people who get involved, the more the prices will come down over time.”

The photovoltaics courses are offered on a rotating basis through April, and there are multiple options for taking the series. Students may opt for either an accelerated or semester-long schedule for the individual classes. And they can take the design and installation section online with instructor support. Cost varies depending upon the options chosen.

Brad Coburn, BCS’ director of Industrial and Contract Training, is available to provide additional program details. He can be reached at 865-694-6666 or

To register, call 865-539-7167 or visit

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