About

Course Instructors


Alex Aragon


Alex Aragon is a NABCEP certified solar installer and a C10 electrical contractor. He designs, sells, and installs on- and off-grid systems for his own company and is an installer for many Real Goods projects.

Allen Martin


Allen Martin has over 20 years experience in residental and commerical building, ten of those in strawbale and greenbuilding. Allen is a certified green building professional and currently works for Sonoma County as a building inspector.

Anna Birkas


Anna Birkas is the owner of Village Ecosystems and long term employee of Ridge to River. In both companies she takes an integrative approach to hydrology and sustainable development, focusing on the interaction of soil, water, and organisms to create ecosystems that are either developed as service ecosystems to humans ...
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Anna Vitorria


Anna grew up in metropolises but is also drawn to wild places.  Anna studies and practices various earth skills, traditional crafts, and movements in an attempt to decolonize herself and reconnect with ancestors, land, community, culture, and self.  Anna completed her undergraduate education at Reed College in Studio Art.  Anna ...
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Aran Collier


Aran Collier will co-teach the Solar Hot Water class, along with Peter Waring and Dan Antonioli.  More info and bios coming soon. ...
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Barrett Raftery


Barrett Raftery was born in San Francisco to an international family. After traveling extensively in his youth he completed his college degree and then continued on to live on-site at the Solar Living Institute. After his internship, he was hired on the Real Goods installation team. Since that time has ...
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Barry Cogbill


Some call Barry Cogbill the hardest working person in clean energy in Sonoma County. Wearing several different hats, Barry is passionate about solar and energy efficiency. He got his start in clean energy by installing swimming pool solar heating systems in the early 1990’s. He moved into the financial industry ...
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Brian Blount


Instructor and artist, Brian Blount has been consulting and teaching Permaculture design since 2009,  and specializes in creating low energy use, zero waste agricultural systems in resource depleted areas.

Earning his Permaculture Design Certification and Teachers Training at The Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute in Basalt, Colorado, Brian has ...
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Darrel DeBoer


Darrel DeBoer is a Northern California architect and furniture maker. (DeboerArchitects.com) With thirty years of practice, he has used strawbales, earthen & lime plasters, earthen floors, structural bamboo and salvaged materials as an alternative to toxic and scarce materials. A board member for nearly a ...
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Darryl Berlin


Darryl Berlin has been an educator and Natural builder for the last 17 years, getting his start in earthen building by participating in a week long Cob workshop led by  Michael Smith, co-founder of Cob Cottage Company.  Darryl teamed up with Michael and others to restart  Emerald Earth Sanctuary, an ...
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Doug Livingston


Doug Livingston is a NABCEP Certified Solar Installer and worked for Real Goods as a solar systems project engineer for eight years. He now works as an independent consultant, designing and installing solar and hydroelectric systems locally and internationally, and works on various aspects of the California Energy Commission's Renewable ...
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Eric Goll


Growing up in farm country Ohio, Eric felt right at home in Mendocino County. He was in the plastics field for over 25 years but when the opportunity came to revive a small organic farm on his girlfriend Shannon’s family property in Redwood Valley, he decided it would be ...
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Erik Frye


A veteran of solar powered living since 1991 Erik Frye promotes the widespread adoption of renewable energy by everyone who shows interest in the subject. He designs and sells on-grid and off-grid photovoltaic systems at Real Goods in Hopland, California, as well as solar thermal and off grid wind and ...
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Gary Hethcoat


Gary Hethcoat is a seasoned technology professional with over 20 years of experience in the computer industry. He developed and taught software courses for Sun Microsystems including UNIX System Interface and Shell Programming. He is currently co-founder of SunTactics, maker of portable solar power systems. ...
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Hannah Bird


Hannah has worked on environmental issues throughout her working life, from raising awareness of climate change and energy efficiency to managing a whale and dolphin conservation visitor center. Since moving from the UK in 2008 she has been involved with outdoor education and loves to spread her enthusiasm for our ...
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Hari Meyers


Hari Meyers has told mythological stories for over 25 years and all over the world, literally as he was a featured story-teller on a cruise that circumambulated the globe.  He is a retired psychotherapist very much interested in the insights archetypal material (so richly contained in ...
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Jay Ma


Jay Ma is a permaculture designer, educator, and community organizer committed to cultural healing through Peacemaker Principles. He received his first permaculture design certification through Naropa University in 2001, a B.A. through New College of California in Culture, Ecology, and Sustainable Community with a concentration in ...
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Jeffrey Murdock Adams


Jeffrey Murdock Adams is the owner of terrasophia, an ecological design consulting and education firm with a passion for solution-oriented action and helping people strengthen their connection to place. Synergizing experience in appropriate technology, construction trades, landscaping, project management, business, ecological restoration, water systems, and program development, Jeffrey brings a ...
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Jennifer Radtke


Jennifer Radtke is a member of the Berkeley Biodiesel Collective, teaches classes on home-brewing biodiesel at her house in Oakland, and taught interns for the Eastbay Biodiesel Internship Program. She is co-owner of Biofuel Oasis, the first biodiesel fueling station in Berkeley. She runs her car on biodiesel and veggie ...
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Jini Reynolds


Jini Reynolds has been mentoring people in sustainable living for as long as The Solar Living institute has been around. She has been tending goats and other backyard livestock for 36 years. First a student of Juliette De Barcle Levy at age 6, communicating through mail and finally having Juliette ...
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Joan Weir


Joan Weir, licensed General Contractor, owns J.J. Design & Renovations, a Bay Area residential remodeling company with interests in sustainable and environmentally responsible building management procedures. Ms. Weir received her general contractors license in 1986. Her crafts background started in metal working as a journey-level welder during the early 1970's. ...
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Jock Patterson


Jock Patterson started his solar career in late 2005, qualifying leads, managing customers, creating proposals, and developing a PV quoting tool for a major PV installer. Jock currently works for Clean Power Finance providing product support and development and also trains new employees on PV Solar. ...
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Joe Jordan


Joe Jordan has been instrumental in photovoltaic installations on local schools, city agencies, residences and commercial buildings in the Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay regions. He has written successful solar energy grants, established regional partnerships, trained staff, designed and is now teaching solar and renewable energy courses at Cabrillo ...
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Jonathan Passow


"Jon Passow has been an award winning brewer for 7 years and is excited to be teaching at the Solar Living Institute. Jon started his brewing career on the stove in his kitchen while veraciously reading everything he could get his hands on that had anything to do with fermentation. ...
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Joshua Muscat


Joshua Muscat is an herbalist in his eighteenth year of clinical practice, and has been formally studying herbal medicine for the past twenty-two years. He is the founder and owner of the San Francisco Botanical Medicine Clinic, dedicated to providing effective and affordable health care.  His education in the ...
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Kate Marianchild


Kate Marianchild is a passionate student of oak woodland and redwood ecology. Her book Secrets of the Oak Woodlands will be published by Heyday in spring of 2014. Kate comes to nature writing via a childhood crisscrossed with rattlesnakes and tortoises, giant kelp and sea cucumbers. Her college career gave ...
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Keith Feigin


Lovers Lane Farm owner, Keith Feigin, was born and raised in Ukiah. He started his beekeeping business on his family’s ranch with two goals: to create a viable local business to strengthen the economy of Mendocino County, and to bring a great local product to the tables of his neighbors.

...
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Kelly Larson


"SolarKelly" Larson operates a renewable energy design, installation and repair service in Northern Mendocino County, CA. She is an electrical engineer, a NABCEP PV Installer, and an Electrical Contractor, (CA license # 868189).  Kelly spent seven years with Alternative Energy Engineering, (now AEE Solar), as a staff engineer, has taught ...
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Kermit Carter


Kermit Carter has been involved in Biodynamic agriculture for 37 years, beginning as an apprentice of the British master gardener Alan Chadwick. For the last 13 years, he has managed Flowers by the Sea, a Demeter certified Biodynamic farm on the coast in Elk, California. The farm produces vegetables, herbs, ...
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Kevin Rowell


As program director for Kleiworks International, Kevin Rowell has spent many years working with people around the world to develop safe and ecologically friendly building methods. He is a guest instructor at Merrit Community College and New College of California. He is co-founder of The Natural Builders, a design and ...
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Kirk Mobert


Kirk is a native Californian with a love of critters, fire and mud. He's been a natural builder for over a decade and has been teaching at Cob Cottage Co. and throughout California for the last 7 years. For Kirk, exploring the possibilities and pushing the boundaries is where it's ...
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Kyle Collins


Harkening from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Kyle Collins moved to California in search of training in sustainable agriculture and permaculture. Kyle's love of fungi grew out of the exploration and personal development of his college years. Kyle has studied and worked with fungi as an Environmental Educator, Permaculturalist, and ...
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Laura Allen


Laura Allen is a Bay Area educator and greywater activist. She has a BA in Environmental Science from UC Berkeley, and a teaching credential and masters in education from the New College of California. She is a co-founder of The Greywater Guerrillas and co-editor of Dam Nation: Dispatches from the ...
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Marisha Farnsworth


Marisha Farnsworth is the co-owner of The Natural Builders, a contracting company based in the East Bay that focuses on green, ecological and indigenous building systems. She also works as an organizer and a teacher with the non-profit Kleiwerks International. ...
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Massey Burke


Massey Burke’s career in natural building began with the Ecoshanty, a humble but well-loved earthen getaway on the Solar Living Institute site. While the Shanty did not survive the great flood of 2004, Massey’s interest in natural building did, and she went on to study integrated natural building with Darryl ...
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Maximillian Meyers


Maximillian Meyers is an experienced Ecological Designer, Permaculture Teacher, Consultant, Commercial Aquaponics System Designer/Installer, Rainwater and Greywater System specialist, Farmer, and the Executive Director of Nor Cal Aquaponics, www.norcalaquaponics.com & the Mendocino Ecological Learning Center (MELC), www.melc.us. In 2003 he founded MELC, a nonprofit educational organization ...
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Mike Arenson


Mike Arenson, popularly known as Solar Mike, has more than 30 years experience in the solar industry. For the past decade Solar Mike has specialized in solar electric systems, and has worked on hundreds of solar projects in California. He is a college instructor, and has received the U.S. Department ...
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Multiple Instructors


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NABCEP Test Administrator


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Nature


With experience in a wide range of music and a love of teaching, Nature inspiries students to find their musical abilities. ...
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Nick Carter


Dr. Nick Carter, founder and owner of npc Solar, is also founder and owner of npc Imaging. He was the organizer of the 2005 Santa Rosa Solar Homes Tour, President of the North Bay Chapter of the Electric Auto Association from 2002 to 2007 and served on the National Board ...
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Online


Online courses do not have any regularly scheduled instructor because these courses have no set schedule and students work at times that are convenient to them. Instead, there are a number of PV professionals, who serve "on call" to answer questions that students post through the "Ask the Expert" ...
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Paul Taylor


Paul Taylor is a 2010 Solar Living Institute Intern Graduate with a passion for mushrooms. Following a family influence he started studying fungi in 2008 and gaining knowledge and experience through experimentation. Originally from Washington DC area he now calls Mendocino County home, where he leads a ...
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Rhonda Sands


Rhonda was born in Garberville, Ca and is a 5th generation Humboldt native.  In 1999 she moved to Maui and where she started her soap business – Kopa Haiku. For 10 years Kopa Haiku offered the finest cream soaps in Hawaii, supplying all of the Tommy Bahama stores nationwide, as ...
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Richard Silsbee


Richard Silsbee has owned Radiant Solar Technology since 1997 and has been in the solar construction business for over 30 years. Richard holds California Contractor's license classes B, C-4, C-10, C-36 & C46. Radiant Solar Technology designs, installs and services solar PV grid-tie and off-grid systems, solar hot ...
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Rob Keller


Rob Keller received his MFA from UC Davis in 1999, where he became interested in incorporating bees into his art practice. As the owner of a small bee business (The Napa Valley Bee Company), Rob's goals are to build a community of beekeepers in his area that practice responsible, sustainable ...
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Ryan LeBlanc


Ryan LeBlanc, NABCEP Certified Solar Installer(tm) and a Technical Sales Consultant with SMA Solar Technologies, has been a renewable energy system designer, installer and consultant since 2001. Experienced with a variety of renewable energy technologies and practices, he has professionally installed everything from residential solar, wind and ...
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Sean White


Sean White is a highly experienced PV educator with thousands of hours teaching entry level, intermediate, and advanced PV classes at solar training centers primarily throughout North America. Many hundreds of his students are employed at both startup and leading solar companies.  Sean also designs commercial and residential PV systems in ...
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Serge Labesque


As a passionate beekeeper, Serge Labesque maintains bee colonies in four separate locations in Sonoma County. Over the past ten years, he has experimented with different methods of keeping bees, and has designed and fabricated his own beekeeping equipment. Serge is an active member of the Sonoma County Beekeepers’ Association. ...
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Tamara Wilder


Tamara Wilder has been practicing, teaching & demonstrating Paleotechnics since 1989 and has been running school programs across Northern California since 1998.

She regularly teaches at the California School of Herbal Studies, Occidental Arts & Ecology Center, Pt. Reyes National Seashore & the Mendocino Art Center; is coauthor of the book Buckskin, and demonstrates ancient ...
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TBD


The instructor will be added soon. ...
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Tellur Fenner


TELLUR FENNER is a clinical herbalist/educator and has traveled extensively throughout the U.S while studying, collecting, and using plant medicines from all the major bioregions. Tellur attended the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine, the California School of Herbal Studies, and received his Bachelor's Degree from Prescott College where he majored in ...
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ABOUT SLI

The Solar Living Institute is a 501 (c)(3) educational nonprofit organization offering instruction in solar training and sustainable practices.  Founded in 1998, we have been providing professional solar training and a wide array of sustainability courses for over 15 years. Our courses are taught by experienced practitioners who bring years of real world knowledge to the classroom with a focus on helping students prepare for job opportunities, start businesses, and live more sustainably.

ACCREDITED BY IREC - Registered Provider of NABCEP

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