March 30, 2023, 1–2 p.m. ET


Level: Intermediate

Agencies with sites located in climates that experience regular severe weather events face unique challenges when procuring new onsite solar PV and battery storage systems. Similarly, maintaining systems in these climates poses unique challenges.

The main challenges for agency managers procuring new systems are to ensure that systems are appropriately engineered for expected site weather conditions. Codes and standards still lag behind field experience, requiring project engineers to utilize complementing engineering guidance. Understanding how to ensure that engineering guidance has been incorporated is an important step during the submittal review.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, attendees will be able to:

  • Recognize how to develop a solicitation and contract that results in a weather-durable system by incorporating specifications and terms intended to increase system robustness. Learn about considerations that can be added to each phase of a project; solicitation, design, submittal reviews, construction, and commissioning
  • Identify the basics of relevant codes and important code gaps that need to be addressed through additional engineering guidance
  • Identify how to verify that important system robustness elements have been incorporated in designs
  • Identify how to add commissioning requirements to confirm the proper installation of key system components
  • Recognize what considerations the General Service Administration added to the rebuild of a 450 kW solar array in St. Croix, USVI.


Gerald Robinson, Program Manager, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Gerald Robinson is an energy manager with over 25 years' experience initiating and completing a broad range of energy efficiency, water conservation, and renewable energy system initiatives. Gerald has an extensive track record of innovative yet practical problem solving in both the private and public sectors.

Gerald's management experience spans a wide variety of organizations including universities, municipalities, large corporations, non-governmental organizations, and federal agencies. He has gained extensive knowledge of all phases of project development and implementation including, legal and regulatory, engineering, project finance, audits, system commissioning, specifications writing, construction management and commissioning.

Gerald is an ardent customer advocate able to work with a wide variety of stakeholders. He acts in the role of agency technical advocate drawing upon his background not only as an energy manager but also as a plant manager while at Loyola Marymount University where he led the university through many multi-million-dollar utility infrastructure modernization and planning projects.

James Elseworth, Research Engineer, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

James Elseworth is a research engineer in the Integrated Applications Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. His work focuses on engineering and economic analysis of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Recently, he has focused on the resilience of power systems, especially with regard to severe weather survivability.

He has an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Colorado-Boulder and a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Brown University.

Kurt Lyell, P.E., Solar Program Manager, HDR

Kurt Lyell is a solar program manager at HDR. He is a licensed professional engineer with a focus on renewable power. Kurt has 25-plus years of engineering experience, including 20-plus years in renewable energy supporting the development of commercial and utility-scale solar PV projects, microgrids, battery energy storage systems, and heavy-duty transportation solutions.

He has overseen the planning, permitting, procurement, and development of hundreds of megawatts of solar photovoltaics and energy storage projects for municipal, utility, and national government clients worldwide with over 90 percent of projects advancing to construction phases, including 50 MW in Jordan, 10 MW in UAE, over 400 MW in Canada, and more than 500 MW in the USA.

Kurt is recognized as a Relentless Innovator by the Resilient Cities and Meaningful Metrics Catalyst competition and is a National Science Foundation Innovation Corps Grant recipient for a vehicle-to-grid energy research effort. Kurt has authored or co-authored papers presented at domestic and international conferences including: Solar Power International, RE+, IEEE PV Specialists Conference, the Military Engineer, World Energy Forum, EUCI, PVSEC, and others.

About FEMP Training

The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) provides live and on-demand training to foster and maintain a high-performance workforce that constructs, operates, and maintains energy-efficient and cost-effective federal facilities. Choose from over 120 free courses spanning topics like project financing, facility and fleet optimization, fleet management, resilience, sustainable product procurement, and more.

FEMP is accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and awards IACET continuing education units (CEUs) upon the successful completion of select courses. FEMP training is provided through the National Institute of Building Sciences' Whole Building Design Guide (WBDG) learning management system.