The Iowa Renewable Energy Training Center (IRETC) located at Prairiewoods in Hiawathwa was finished with a flurry of activity just as the snow was beginning to fall in late 2010. With a short six months from signing the Iowa State Energy Program grant to expected completion, the services of a top notch construction company able to expedite the whole process and a good working knowledge of renewable energy systems was crucial. RJ Construction proved repeatedly to be an excellent partner in smoothing out the whole process and delivering our building in the nick of time as the season was quickly drawing to an end.
The Solar Thermal Installation class in October was led by our own Jeff Benz from The Solar Consultants and facilitated by Todd Timmerman of Timmerman’s Talents who drove down from Wisconsin for the class and also donated the majority of the state of the art equipment used. The diverse group of students learned everything from assessing the solar resource to system planning, sweating pipe, roof safety and working in the dark!
The Photovoltaic System Installation class held in November was an engaging but chilly event and proved to be quite a challenge to keep everyone safe on the slick new standing seam steel roof donated by Metalmonsters. Instructor Dennis Pottratz from Go Solar proved why having very experienced and knowledgeable installers lead our classes is of such great value. The students had a good time wrangling the huge 240Watt Michigan made PV panels and scrambling around on the slippery roof to get the racking properly installed. By the end of the day we were able to energize the PV system and power up the Solar Thermal system to bring this state of the art educational facility to life.
We wish to extend a hearty thank you to all of the people and businesses who made the project possible and worked so hard to Get RE Done. We encourage everyone to visit IRETC during one of our upcoming open houses and reap the benefits of having this wonderful technology demonstrator in our community.