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A good approach to learning about Solar and Battery Storage.

A good approach to learning about Solar and Battery Storage.

By Rob Moss, Trainer at Skillbuild Training.

Solar and Battery Storage

When it comes to learning I think one of the most important things is to have an open mind. Especially when it is relating to Solar and Storage. Often the students, who are all qualified Electricians and Solar Installers, will have the plan to install a Storage system in their premises. Most of them will already have preselected parts purchased even though they haven’t completed the course yet. They are trying to be ahead of the game before they start. I get the question “is this the right thing to do?”

Is it ok to have predetermined products in mind before doing the course?

My answer is always yes, as I believe it is ok. I will always commend someone for being proactive. Often the reason for doing this is that they are dealing with suppliers who have suggested items for them. They trust the supplier, and that is good. Only thing is that a supplier will lean towards their own products, which can be limiting.

The Training course will give you more options

The best part is that when they do the course they become more informed about what can be done. Some keep their ideas, but others realise that they want something else. What I say to them is that you can use the parts that you have predetermined. I will also show them how their system will work with those parts. I give them the advantages and show them other products. It doesn’t matter what products you use if you are learning from the process.

Have a test site

I have been working with different products for a while now and I only started to fully understand them when I had a test site. With a test site you can get your hands dirty and really get into the product. I suggest to the students that they put a system in their own premises because then you can test it without interfering with a customer. Do not test on a client’s premises. Have it in your own place.

Developing your installation style

Having your test site will give you the opportunity to develop your installation style. I learnt a lot from working with live sites that weren’t client based. I learnt as I went along testing everything and getting a feel for the system.

Practical training and testing

That is why during all the Skillbuild training courses we spend a full day doing practical applications. Because the students learn as they apply or as they do it.

There are no wrong solutions when you are learning

That’s why I say that there is no wrong solutions (equipment). There is a place for every product on the market. They just need to be for the right purpose. In my role my objective is learning. So, what I do is to help the students to get the best out of their solution so that they can learn from it. Here’s what I suggest to all my students:

1. Be aware of what products are available

Have awareness of what products are available on the market. If you don’t know other products it becomes harder to suggest the advantage of the product you are using?

2. Be an expert in 1 or 2 products

Become an expert in 1 or 2 products and gain a sound knowledge of them. The students will become aware of other products during the training we give. But they must always gain expertise as they go further.

3. Attend Industry events

By attending industry events such as exhibitions – like All Energy or Australian Energy Storage – you can see what is out there. Keep regular attendances of these events to stay abreast of industry products and changes.

4. Industry Associations

Become a member of industry bodies such as the Solar Energy Installer Associations (find one in your state). There is a lot to learn from other installers and these events will provide a great way to network.

Learning is the key

I learn a lot from the students that come to our courses because some have experience with other products and bring their insights with them. Thus, the students can also learn from each other as well. When a student talks about a product that I haven’t dealt with before I will go home that night and research all I can about it. So, in fact I learn from the course as well.

I always say the day I stop learning from the Skillbuild courses will be the day I stop teaching them. It is all about learning!