Several solar industry training programs and facilities have been developed in various states, the most recent in Utah, to prepare the work force.

In early September, Salt Lake Community College celebrated the opening of its solar training yard located at the college’s Meadowbrook Campus in Salt Lake City. The training yard is the only one of its kind in the state.

The training yard is a resource for industry professionals and prospective technicians to increase their knowledge and skills through hands-on training. North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certified instructors will teach curriculum.

The site helps showcase the college’s already well-established reputation in the field of green-energy training. The college has received $2.1 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for its innovative programs. Its Green Academy, which will offer courses at the site, opened in 2009 and offers certificates and programs in energy management, electric power technology and solar photovoltaics.

While it stands alone in the state of Utah, the site joins a group of training facilities nationwide. The DOE’s Solar Instructor Training Network is composed of nine Regional Training Providers, which now include Salt Lake Community College. The Interstate Renewable Energy Council works closely with the RTPs to support training of the solar industry’s work force.

Other solar training sites in this network include a regional dealership training facility at Hudson Valley Community College in New York, the Center for Sustainability at Pennsylvania State University’s solar training location at the Naval Stock Yard in Philadelphia, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ training facility in Los Angeles.