solar jobs

Clean Energy in the San Joaquin Valley: where are the jobs?

This event has been postponed to December 14th. Same time, same place.  For more information contact Courtney Kalashian @ (877) 748-0841 or

I may have mentioned in passing our project working with community colleges in the San Joaquin Valley--heck, even Huffington Post is talking about it--but I've not taken the time to really explain what we're doing and why we're doing it. Well, my apologies and please, allow me to tell you a bit about this thing we like to call "C6".

In May 2012 the SJVCEO began a partnership with the Central California Community Colleges Committed to Change (C6) consortium under a Department of Labor grant to redesign how community college students are trained to enter the clean energy workforce.  Our role is to convene educators with industry leaders to jointly design skills training based on real life needs. 

Our purpose is to serve as a convener of employers, industry experts and educators to look at Alternative/Clean Energy (ACE) education in a holistic manner. For the past six months we have been meeting with employers and asking what they want in their future employees.  We've meet with educators and asked what they're doing, and how they'd like to change it.  We have researched existing sources of curriculum, then taken it back to the employers and educators and asked how can we make this more applicable for students in Central California. 

But that wasn't enough. 

Maureen, Dee and I found ourselves asking, 'where are all these newly trained students going to go?' and we didn't have a concrete answer and with that a workshop was born! (PS--you're invited!)

Our one-day workshop will serve as a true “work” shop in which we will attempt to geographically determine where the jobs are now, where projects are planned, and what the actual employment opportunities are in our eight county region.  At the end of the day we want to have enough data to create an online, interactive GIS based map that represents what, where and when clean energy jobs are available in the San Joaquin Valley, what training and certifications are needed at each site, and where training is available. 

The ideal attendee for the event is a person familiar with the business plans of you organization or involved in planning and permitting for clean energy projects—where contracts will be, number of jobs, length of contract, training and certification needed.  We want to take a broad view  on clean energy: efficiency, solar, wind, water, biofuels, weatherization, green building, and more! Please mark your calendars and join us:

Thursday, November 15, 2012
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Small Business Development Center Regional Network in partnership with the US Small Business Administration
550 East Shaw Avenue, Suite 100
Fresno, CA  93710-7702

Please RSVP to and please forward this to those you think would benefit from participating.

If you have questions or would like more information on this event please contact Courtney Kalashian, (877) 748-0841 or  

photo credit: SenatorMarkUdall via photopin cc

Solar industry brushes off setbacks & powers ahead

The nation's solar industry is expected to grow 24 percent next year.

That's the conclusion of the National Solar Jobs Census 2011, produced by the nonprofit Solar Foundation and Cornell University. The 68-page report says that as of August 2011, the U.S. solar industry employed an estimated 100,237 workers, up 6.8 from a year earlier. That compares with .3 percent growth over the same period in the U.S. employment rate.

About a quarter of those employed by the solar industry, 25,575 -- by far the most for any state, worked in California. Colorado with 6,186 workers came in second and Arizona with 4,786 came in third.

It's good news for an industry pounded by the political fallout brought on by the bankruptcy of solar equipment maker Solyndra, which had received a $535 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy. Additional bankruptcies by SpectraWatt and Evergreen Solar didn't help the perception.

Ulicia Wang of says even First Solar, known for low-cost production, "posted a big drop in earnings during the first half of this year."

Adding to the positive tone, General Electric has announced a $600 million investment in its solar manufacturing sector by adding a plant in Aurora, Colo. The move means 355 jobs and panels commercially available from the facility by 2013.

GE officials say material produced at the factory will be more efficient, lighter weight and larger than conventional thin film panels, reducing costs and speeding payback.

Some of this has to do with falling costs industry wide. Power purchase agreements offered by installers are influencing more commercial businesses, municipalities and and homeowners to chose solar. These offset high installation costs and enable building owners to benefit right away with reduced energy bills.

"The unprecedented growth of the industry is providing much needed job creation despite an historic economic and workforce downturn," the report says. "The optimism of solar employers in the midst of these conditions suggests that job growth will continue for years to come."