SEI Alumni in the Field: Commercial PV Installer for Namaste Solar

Ben Vandervliet first found out about Solar Energy International (SEI) classes from his brother who was a part of the SEI Solar Ready Vets program, and now he’s a full-time commercial PV installer with Namaste Solar based out of Fort Collins, Colorado. SEI can help launch your career in the solar industry, too! Ben shared details with us on how SEI classes helped him secure his current role in solar. 

According to Ben, after he left his last job, his brother gave him all of his old SEI materials to look through. “After reading the entire Solar Electric handbook, I knew it was the right direction and promptly applied to SEI’s Commercial and Residential Solar Professional Certificate Programs. If I was to be successful in this field, I knew that I needed the best quality training available from a reputable organization. Solar Energy International was unequivocally the best choice,” Ben said. 

Since that point, Ben has progressed through five classes with SEI: PV101, 201L, 202, 203, and 301L. “My classroom experiences were very positive, due to the quality of instructors, staff, and students,” Ben said. “In hindsight I wish my college experience had been nearly as good. The combination of diverse student backgrounds, friendliness, and razor-sharp focus of everyone involved made for an engaging learning experience that I fondly look back on. The hands-on labs were especially enjoyable, as they gave me more confidence in my understanding of PV theory and electrical systems.”

After taking these five courses, Ben took the NABCEP exam and then landed his role with Namaste, all within 6-weeks time. 

Ben explained that through his position with Namaste, his work involves the installation of larger-scale PV for commercial applications, specifically ballast-mount and ground-mount arrays. His work entails duties such as: Setting up the racking systems and getting everything prepped for various stages of installation, and understanding design plans, being proficient in various hand tools, and working well with his team. 

Ben attributes his success, in-part, to his SEI experience. “SEI has played a direct role in launching my solar career. During my time in Paonia, I took full advantage of employment services and landed a great job soon after training. This likely would not have been the case without SEI’s outstanding reputation and dedicated staff who genuinely want the best for their students. I am super grateful for people I have met at SEI and the positive trajectory it has set for my career in PV.” 

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