Solar power is growing by 20% a year but the industry faces a critical shortage of skilled workers to keep that expansion going. Now, SunEdison, the world’s largest renewable energy development company, and GRID Alternatives, the nation’s largest nonprofit solar installer, have teamed up to provide job training for individuals in underserved communities. The two-year initiative, called RISE, is designed to connect the industry’s growing demand for skilled workers with communities that need jobs and to build a more inclusive solar workforce. The partnership is modeled on the successful 2014 SunEdison and GRID Alternatives initiative to bring more women into the solar industry.
SunEdison is contributing $5 million in cash and in-kind contributions to the RISE program. The RISE initiative will provide hands-on training and real-world solar installation experience to over 4,000 people across the country and connect job trainees with solar companies looking for skilled workers.
“This partnership is making solar more accessible for everyone in America. For lower-income families, that means lower electricity bills, more money for necessities, and the opportunity to receive valuable job training,” said Ahmad Chatila, President and Chief Executive Officer of SunEdison. “I’m very proud that with this contribution, SunEdison is truly helping the people who need it most.”
SunEdison is a leader in transforming how energy is generated, distributed, and owned around the world. It manufactures solar technology and develops, finances, installs, owns, and operates wind and solar power plants. SunEdison is one of the largest renewable energy asset managers and provides asset management, operations, monitoring, and reporting services for its renewable energy customers around the world.
GRID Alternatives is a nonprofit organization that makes renewable energy technology and job training accessible to low-income communities. The organization brings together community partners, volunteers, and job trainees to implement solar power and energy efficiency for low-income families, providing energy cost savings, valuable hands-on experience, and a source of clean, local energy.
To date, more than 5000 families have benefited from the organization’s work and saved more than $125 million in lifetime electricity costs. In addition, over 19,000 people have received solar panel installation training. GRID Alternatives has offices in California, Colorado, New York, the mid-Atlantic region, and Tribal communities nationwide. Its international program also provides off-grid solar to rural communities in Nicaragua.