The Solar Living Institute (SLI) and the City of Ukiah (pronounced you-kiya) have partnered to develop a state-of-the-art, hands-on solar and renewable energy training program in Ukiah, California. The program, called Ukiah Greenworks, will train almost 2000 students annually in solar photovoltaic design and installation, solar water heating, and other renewable energy job skills.

Located approximately two hours north of San Francisco among organic vineyards and farms, Ukiah is the commercial hub of Mendocino County. The hands-on facility in Ukiah gives students the opportunity to mount a fully operational photovoltaic system on a custom-built roof.

All sola PV equipment used in the program was furnished by the City of Ukiah’s Electric Utility Public Benefit Program.

Student Quotes:


solarClass01"I like the case studies and examples of systems; working through designing systems with various components is good practice in understanding concepts. I would have liked even more examples; perhaps a worksheet to take home and work through, and go over the next day."

"It was good to see the parts all connected in the hands-on section."

“This class helped me reconnect with all the positive reasons I am on this path”

“I enjoyed the instructor’s knowledge of the material & living how he teaches”

“Enjoyed the class and high level of student participation”

“An absolutely incredible overview of the industry, what can be done, & how we all can contribute to the solution”

“Great class, great instructor, go solar!”

“I would recommend the SLI to electricians all over for the fast track to NABCEP”

“The instructor really shined in this class"

Teacher Quotes:



I am so grateful to the City of Ukiah for providing this excellent facility.  Students are closer to their hotels.  In the hot summer and deep winter, we are not roasting or freezing (as we were in the yurt in Hopland).  The hands on equipment are secure and immediately available.  Many restaurants are within a three block walk.  It’s as good as I could hope for.  It’s putting Ukiah on the green building education map.  I hope we get to continue using it for many years to come. - Doug Livingston





The Sun House has what we need. It's got a comfortable classroom, convenient restrooms, a good sunny workshop area, anyone can find aconvenient place to eat whatever their tastes or budget, and it's a good introduction to Mendocino County for all of our guests from out of town.
- Alex Aragon

Teaching in the classroom at the Grace Hudson Museum is a real treat.  The facilities are first rate and comfortable for students and teachers alike.  The classroom is quiet, enjoys natural lighting, and features excellent overhead lighting control such that the power point projection screen is in the dark for excellent legibility while students are in the light by which to write; furthermore it is within walking distance to good, local restaurants for lunch time, and the best thing of all is that it is adjacent to the most remarkable Native American museum dedicated to the culture of the local indigenous peoples of this region.  I always encourage the students to avail themselves and check out the Grace Hudson Museum during class downtime. The hands-on facility is very convenient.  The two mock rooftops allow us to demonstrate a variety of design strategies and installation options.  The container within the locked fencing securely houses our valuable hands on PV modules, charge controllers, inverters, tools and the like without worrying about theft or vandalism.  The grid interactive connection with live 240 volt AC from the City of Ukiah allows us to demonstrate real world installations and perform realistic troubleshooting with the requirement for safe operating practices not just an abstract concept, and the proof of a job well done demonstrated by the electrical meter with its arrow in the direction of production. - Erik Frye

Solar Training Cost Comparison

Education Provider


Course Name


Solar Living Institute (nonprofit)

Hopland, CA PV Design & Installation 40 hrs


Solar Energy International (nonprofit)


PV Design & Installation 40 hrs

$995 - $1195

Ontility New Orleans, LA Houston, TX
PV Design & Installation 40 hrs $1395
US Solar Institute Ft. Lauderdale, FL PV 201 - 40 hrs $2500
Boots on the Roof San Jose, CA PV Design & Installation 40 hrs $3495

The Solar Living Institute (SLI) and Pacific Technical College (PTC) have partnered to expand solar and green tech training programs at a new facility in the heart of Silicon Valley. Through this unique partnership, SLI and PTC are collaborating to provide in-class and hands-on training in areas such as solar design and installation, solar sales and marketing, and the economics and finance of solar photovoltaics.

Located in San Mateo, California, Pacific Technical College (PTC) is a premiere career college that offers Solar and Healthcare training Programs. These programs are offered in a supportive learning environment that promotes self-development, self-discipline, meaningful employment and life-long learning. PTC works closely with local and national employers to update their training programs in order to reflect the most current industry needs.

The Solar Living Institute (SLI) is a proud member of the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and home of the Redwood Empire Solar Living Association (RESLA). RESLA represents seven counties in the coastal and coast range region of Northern California: Sonoma, Mendocino, Humboldt, Del Norte, Lake, Siskiyou, and Trinity. As the Regional Chapter representative of ASES, RESLA is dedicated to promoting the use of solar energy through public education and training, and is committed to fostering networking opportunities for solar educators, researchers, advocates and industry representatives.


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 20 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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