Today (May 26) the Department of Energy announced $12 million to help train Americans for jobs in the solar industry. That’s in addition to $15 million it will invest in new designs for concentrating solar power (CSP) systems and $5 million it is investing in funding projects that will increase transparency in datasets. The funding is intended to further reduce the cost of solar power in the U.S.
The $15 million aimed at CSP is because CSP technologies may offer some of the lowest-cost solar power available, however, the technologies are not as mature as other solar power technologies like silicon photovoltaics—the most popular form of solar panels. CSP also encompasses a broad range of technologies from photovoltaics to solar thermal applications. The funding will focus on solutions that help reduce the cost of the solar field for CSP systems.The $12 million will support solar workforce training in the U.S., including training for veterans under the Solar Ready Vets program, to help further the President’s goal of 75,000 solar industry employees by 2020 and meet the needs of solar installers across the country. “An efficient, well-trained workforce familiar with solar will improve inspection compliance, expedite system permitting, reduce liability and insurance costs, and increase consumer confidence,” the Energy Department explained.
This round will fund solar technician training as well as training in some ancillary positions including real estate, insurance, finance and fire and safety. The Energy Department also anticipates that the funding will help create new credentials for solar energy professionals.
“Last year, a new solar energy project was installed every two and a half minutes in the United States,” said Deputy Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall. “To ensure the continued growth of the U.S. solar industry and our clean energy economy, it is critical that we support workforce training programs that will give American workers the skills they need for well-paying jobs and also make sure American consumers have access to highly-trained, credentialed professionals when they choose solar to power their daily lives.” Already the SunShot Initiative’s Solar Instructor Training Network has trained more than 30,000 people in solar power over the past five years, according to the Department of Energy.
The $5 million will support efforts to make solar pricing more transparent, from the costs of modules to the energy produced and financing costs. The data can help establish industry-wide standards for solar system performance.Tweet