Sixteen anxious and diligent new Solar Technicians graduated Friday 2-Mar-12 from an 8-week course at the CRC Institute in Jacksonville, Florida. They got certificates of technical training, are ready for the LEED Green Associate professional credential exam and got an important card proving their OSHA training from the National Safety Council. They are ready to work!
The newly-qualified Solar Technicians learned about energy efficiency, solar hot water systems, and solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. They were introduced to business customs, sustainability basics, the importance of a lifetime of learning and community engagement. Clearly they have been coached on how to work, trained and tested the techniques and knowledge they’ll have to develop to advance in America’s fastest growing job sector, solar energy.
I had the pleasure of speaking to them at their Commencement Exercise about energy efficiency, renewable energy and the scene in Florida. But they had the matter well in hand before I showed up. Two students, Julius and Willie, reflected on their experiences and frame of mind as they prepared to offer their skills in the marketplace starting the next Monday morning.
So, Florida, are you ready?
We have first-class capabilities available in our Florida regional workforce, evidenced by these technicians and established businesses that they’ll work for in the solar and efficiency service sectors. A majority of our state’s people are wanting to advance on this energy front at their homes and places of business.
Florida needs state energy policy that connects customers with an unlimited energy resource: the sun. Today, we just have obstacles: large utilities that only want to pursue token levels of efficiency, and public officials who protect those utilities from competition by private companies ready to invest in solar energy.
Give investment a chance, and we’ll find that the unlimited energy resource in Florida is found in people like Julius and Willie, who are ready to work and bring clean energy to Florida.
Various Florida cities & counties are approaching energy efficiency and renewable energy financing options, including PACE, QEC bonds, community revolving fund , third-party ownership, feed-in tariffs and on-bill utility financing. As elsewhere, Jacksonville and JEA can undertake PACE at no cost to the taxpayer, for voluntary use by property owners, we just need the local enabling ordinance.
These enthusiastic young people are beginning new careers, beginning new lives and need our government officials to help the Sunshine State take advantage of one of its best resources, its people—and seize its abundant solar energy.