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FAQ

How much does a course or workshop cost?

You can obtain the prices for our courses by filling out the inquiry form.

How much does a program cost?

The cost for project feasibility analysis certificate programs is simply the sum of the cost for the component courses. Price can be obtained by filling out the inquiry form.

My credit card payment didn't go through?

1. Make sure that the credit card billing address is properly entered, especially if it is not the same address as the one you wrote down as your persobal address.

2. Make sure that the name of the card holder is the name you have written on the form, especially if it is not your name.

What is the difference between taking a program and individual courses?

Successful completion of a project feasibility analysis program will yield a separate certificate from the project feasibility analysis courses. Also, to complete the program you will only need to deliver a total of two team projects and two individual projects instead of one each per course.

What courses do you offer?

We offer courses in Solar PV, Solar Water Heating, Solar Air Heating, Passive Solar Heating, Wind Energy, Small Hydro, Geothermal, Biomass Heating, and Cogeneration (Combined Heat & Power - CHP). You can obtain brochures for each of those courses by filling out our inquiry form.

Will I learn how to install a solar collector, wind turbine, geothermal heat pump, etc?

Our project feasibility analysis courses are not technician courses. You will not learn how to install a solar collector or erect a wind turbine. Instead, you will learn how to perform a feasibility analysis study. Thus, our courses focus on the business side of renewable energy projects instead of the operational. This also means that the courses are geared towards larger projects instead of individual homes/businesses.

Other workshops and classroom programs do teach how to install and maintain a renewable energy system.

What is the course entrance application process for?

We introduced the course entrance application process to increase probability of successful completion of a feasibility analysis certificate course. Moreover, as team work is a crucial part of our courses, a positive experience for all involved is most likely when participants meet the following criteria:

  • ability to speak and write in English equivalent to the post secondary level of the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language);
  • post-secondary education or equivalent work experience;
  • availability of 10 hours per week (minimum) to devote to the course;
  • ability to use wordprocessing to write feasibility reports;
  • ability to use the Microsoft Excel to create RETScreen worksheets and process financial data;
  • motivation for taking the course.

It consists of two steps:

  1. online submission of application form and resume
  2. online quiz

The first step gathers basic information pertaining to the above requirements. The online quiz assesses your ability to:

  • understand questions in English and to answer in proper written English under time constraints;
  • use effectively online tools such as web based quizzes;
  • perform in a distance learning environment;
  • deal with the topics covered in a clean energy course;
  • successfully complete a course.

Since there is no facilitator feedback or team work involved in the self-paced 30-day courses, the course entrance application process is not required. It is also not required for acceptance in our installer workshops.

What is the course format?

All our project feasibility analysis courses are offered via distance learning. All course materials are accessed through the Clean Energy Institute website. The certificate (regular) courses are structured like a typical academic course with weekly reading, exams/assignments/projects, facilitator feedback and teamwork. For the self-paced courses however, there is no facilitator involvement or teamwork and knowledge is evaluated via three multiple choice exams.

Where can I take the course from?

You can take the project feasibility analysis courses from anywhere in the world with internet access. High speed access is not required, but is highly recommended for viewing multimedia content.

How much time does a course take?

A regular (certificate) course is 16 weeks long and involve about 10 hours per week of work on average. A self-paced is 4 weeks long (course access is for 30 days) and involves about the same number of hours per week.

How do the Self-Directed courses differ from Facilitated courses?

Generally, a self-paced course is one where the participant moves through the course independently, without a group, facilitator or fixed schedule. The participant studies and completes assignments/exams according to their own schedule. A self-paced course must be completed within a defined period of time.

There are a few main difference between the Clean Energy Institute's self-paced and certificate courses:

  • Start: Self-directed courses start the first of the month (except for July, August, December and January) following payment receipt (and membership confirmation for those wishing AEE's CEU/PDH). Facilitated courses are typically offered once or twice a year. Check our calendar to see when.
  • Evaluation: Self-paced courses only have multiple choice exams, not essay exams. Participants do not receive guidance from facilitators/subject matter experts on their exams or practice assignment, only automated feedback. The only support received is for problems accessing the web portal.
  • Assignment: All work is done individually, there are no team assignments. The individual assignments are not graded or given feedback, and do not have to be submitted.
  • Hands-on: Self-directed courses participants do not perform a complete feasibility analysis. In Facilitated (certificate) courses, participants perform guided feasibility analysis studies (with a team or individually) involving many hours of individualized guidance and feedback.
  • Certificate of Completion: Participants who pass a self-directed course (70% average) will be eligible to receive a "Certificate of Completion". If they are members of AEE, they will receive a certificate of completion from AEE as well as 1 CEU / 10 PDH from AEE. Participants who pass a Facilitated course will not only obtain from us a certificate of completion for each course passed, but they will also receive our Certificate of Proficiency if the pass all 4 required courses for each technology program. For more details on this, click here.
  • Requirement: Since there is no facilitator involvement or team work, the course entrance application process is not required. However, as the courses are in English, proficiency in English at the post-secondary level of the equivalent of the TOEFL is strongly recommended. Furthermore, AEE membership is a prerequisite to receive a certificate of completion as well as 1 CEU / 10 PDH from AEE.

How does a Certificate of Proficiency compare to a college diploma?

There are several differences, which are summarized well by Wikipedia. The table below summarizes the main differences.

Typical Traditional College Typical Continuing Education
Younger learners Mature learners (often experienced professionals in Engineering, business, finance, law...)
Full-time Mostly Part-time, as many people work at the same time
In Classroom Either in Classroom, workshops, conference seminars or Distance Learning
Content Includes basic skills/knowledge, typically not on recent developments More specialized, advanced, up to date
Content is fairly broad and general Content is practical more readily applicable
Programs and courses take a long time to adapt to market, if at all. Ability to offer quickly courses and content that usually takes colleges (especially community colleges and universities) years to develop and approve – and by that time may be out of date.
This education provides a base foundation but people need to build experience outside to complement it to acquire actual real world proficiencies Courses build not only knowledge but know-how, actual skills that can be used immediately. Courses recognized by professional associations typically yield Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and/or Professional Development Hours (PDHs).

 

What is RETScreen?

The RETScreen® Clean Energy Project Analysis Software is the world's leading clean energy decision support tool, having been downloaded by more than 200,000 users in 220 countries and territories. RETScreen simplifies preliminary evaluations of the energy production and savings, life-cycle costs, emission reductions, financial viability and risk for various types of Renewable-energy and Energy-efficient Technologies (RETs). The software is available in 35 languages, includes product, project, hydrology and climate databases, a detailed user manual — and is provided free-of-charge by Natural Resources Canada.

RETScreen was developed with the contribution of experts from government, industry, and academia over the past 10 years to create standardized procedures that enable funders, planners, developers, regulators, etc to make go-no go decisions for potential clean energy projects. RETScreen was developed to provide insight, as rapidly and as easily as possible, as to whether a proposed project passed an initial screening for energetic and financial viability. As such, it is not intended as a tool for design and detailed cost estimation.

While RETScreen offers its own course, they do not offer any exams or facilitated courses where participants are guided through their own feasibility studies. These courses offer an awareness but in 1 to 3 days, these courses cover many technologies (usually less than 5 hours per technology) and therefore can not cover each technology with as much depth as you would in our courses with 40 hours per course and technology just for the theory and  4 courses per technology for our Certificate of Proficiency programs. If you take a RETScreen workshop, you will pay around $1,600 for the 3 days, plus hotel, traveling, and incidentals. This can easily add up to $2500 to well over $3,000. Our courses offer the ability to gain not just some awareness but real skills for a fraction of the cost and with much less Green House Gas emissions and pollution. If you are interested in Clean Energy partly or essentially for environmental reasons, you may want to give this some thoughts and use your traveling for other things like vacations to romantic or exotic destinations.

What types of companies hire graduates?

In addition to utilities and state/provincial governments, increasingly jobs exist at a wide variety of companies in areas such as finance, construction, and consulting. Many organizations are looking at how to incorporate renewable energy technologies and this is creating opportunities for people with the skills our courses provide. Check out our Clean Energy Jobs section.

My question wasn't answered here. How can I get more information?

If you still have questions, please fill out the inquiry form and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.