This week’s presidential announcement of a new initiative to increase access to solar energy for all Americans, in particular low- and moderate-income communities, is an exciting expansion of IREC’s groundbreaking work in this area, which began in California.
President Obama announced a new goal to train 75,000 people to enter the solar workforce by 2020, some of whom will be veterans. This new goal builds on the tremendous progress of the DOE SunShot Initiative’s Solar Instructor Training Network, which includes nearly 500 partnering educational institutions across the country. To date, more than 1,000 solar instructors have trained through the SITN and an estimated 30,000 students have received some amount of training from them.
There can’t be a much stronger seal of approval to a program’s success than to hear support for its growth straight from the president. Listening to a live feed of President Obama’s comments a few weeks ago on new clean energy initiatives, it was a proud moment for the SITN to hear of his support for additional investment in building a competent solar workforce.
Congratulations to Henry Red Cloud, a partnering instructor through the SITN, as he was awarded by President Obama as a Solar Champion on April 17 at a White House ceremony. Henry is part of the Rocky Mountain Region and participated in training through Solar Energy International in 2012.
Thank You Mr. President: More Support for Training Programs at Community Colleges Will Ready More Workers for Solar Jobs
May 9 was a momentous day for solar energy with one giant announcement kicking off a new set of promising and proven actions. President Obama publicized more than 300 private and public sector commitments to create jobs and cut carbon pollution by advancing solar deployment and energy efficiency. Some of these headline initiatives included innovative financing for deploying solar, two billion dollars in energy efficiency investments for federal buildings, improving appliance efficiency, strengthening building codes and, drumroll please, additional investment in building a competent solar workforce.