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SMC|Academic Programs|Earth Science|Sustainable Technologies Program (Renewable Energies)

Sustainable Technologies Program (Renewable Energies)


The goal of the Solar Photovoltaic Installation Certificate of Achievement is to provide Santa Monica College with a high quality program that will enable students to obtain desirable employment in the solar power industry.  The program is designed to provide students the skills necessary to place and advance in the solar energy industry.  It is also designed to provide students with a holistic perspective on the role of solar power in a changing global economy and climate.

An Energy Efficiency Certificate of Achievement is being considered as a future offering – courses taken now would still be eligible.


The Solar Photovoltaic Installation Certificate of Achievement requires completion of 19 credits.  Required are PV1, PV2, and PV3, as well as EE1 (Energy Efficiency), GEOG 7 (Environmental Studies) and EITHER    GIS 20 (Geographic Information Systems or INT ARC 35 (CAD: Computer Aided Design)  This certificate is approved at the State level and WILL appear on your transcript. Transfer students who wish to (also) qualify for an Associates degree should select either the Liberal Arts or General Science major.  Additional graduation requirements for the Associates degree from Santa Monica College are listed in the Academics section of the catalog as well as online (
We hope to soon offer a 19-credit, State-approved, Certificate of Achievement in Energy Efficiency.​


Two 12-credit Departmental certificates are also available and may be earned in as little as one semester:
Solar Photovoltaics: Acquired by completing EE1, PV1, PV2, and PV3.
Energy Efficiency: Acquired by completing EE1 and EE2, PV1 and PV2.
Energy Efficiency: Acquired by completing EE1, EE2, and EE3 as well as PV1.

Please note that these program offerings have minimal pre-requisite requirements and students are often eligible for tuition and fees to be paid by third parties (Veterans, Employer Training, and Financial Aid). Transfer-oriented students should check classes against their transfer requirements, as not all career-technical credits are transferable, even as General Education credits.

CAREER OPTIONS (This list is not comprehensive)
Below are just some of the jobs you may become eligible for after participating in the STP program:

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Installer; PV Designer; PV Salesperson 
Energy Efficiency (EE) Specialist; EE Consultant
Sustainability Specialist; Sustainability Consultant
Independent business owner in Solar Energy and Energy Efficiency
Renewable Energy specialist



Full-Time Faculty:


Upon completion of all the coursework for the Solar Photovoltaic Installation Certificate of Achievement:
1. Students will demonstrate a basic understanding of the introductory scientific and environmental concepts by applying alternative energy solutions, focusing on solar photovoltaic systems.
2. Students will be able to solve photovoltaic installation and design challenges, using their understanding of solar photovoltaic and thermal systems.
3. Students will describe environmental, economic, and social benefits of solar photovoltaic systems as well as political and regulatory infrastructure that affect photovoltaic system installation.
4. Students will remain current on advanced concepts in solar photovoltaic installation, troubleshooting, net metering laws, local codes, and National Electrical Code (NEC) PV requirements. Successful participants will be qualified to take the North America Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Photovoltaic Installer Entry Level exam.

COURSES OFFERED IN THE SOLAR TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM are described on Earth Science Department Chair Vicki Drake's website: or can be found in the course catalog

Photovoltaic Systems 1: Introduction to Solar Energy Systems
Photovoltaic Systems 2: Intermediate PV System Installation
Photovoltaic Systems 3: Advanced Solar Photovoltaic Systems
Energy Efficiency 1:  Introduction to Energy Efficiency
Energy Efficiency 2: Residential Building Science
Energy Efficiency 3: Commercial Building Science



Additional Courses required for Certificate of Achievement offered through other Academic Departments at SMC
Geography 20: Introduction to GIS or Interior Architectural Design 35: Computer-Aided Design and Drafting
Geography 7/Environmental Studies 7: Introduction to Environmental Studies
Business 63: Principles of Entrepreneurship  (recommended)


The Recycling and Resource Management (RRM) Program at Santa Monica College is designed to provide formal training for individuals interested in working in the green jobs sector or bring an environmental competitive edge to their traditional position, such as marketing or facilities management.

As more cities and businesses develop sustainability and zero-waste policies, there is an increased need for trained staff that can properly manage organizational resources and initiate programs. This training program will provide students with the resources they need to compete in the green jobs marketplace.

​ ​Who Can Apply?

Those individuals that desire to:

  • ​work in the green jobs sector
  • support themselves while seeking a higher education degree
  • make a career change
  • obtain advancement in their current job 

Students Encouraged to Apply.

Those applicants that are currently unemployed, underemployed or dislocated are encouraged to apply.

Financial Assistance

Qualified applicants may apply for need-based assistance through our financial aid office​.​