Last week, Philadelphia energy company PECO, the Solar Training Network, the Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA) and other city officials came together to honor clean energy trainee graduates and celebrate the success of solar expansion efforts in Philadelphia.
“Philadelphia is proud to encourage city businesses and residents to make the switch to solar energy,” said Mayor Jim Kinney. “Solar technology helps us create jobs and lower the carbon footprint of the city. We are committed to a 100 percent renewable energy future, and solar is a key piece of the puzzle to get us there.”
In its second year, the PEA’s Find Your Power program is taught by instructors from Solar
States and the Energy Coordinating Agency and is administered as part of the Philadelphia Youth Network’s WorkReady program. In addition to offering job training, Find Your Power also placed 10 students who had previously completed the program in relevant internships at local clean energy businesses and other organizations. The program received a $100,000 contribution from PECO this year.
“At PECO, we are committed to leading the charge toward an environmentally sustainable future and, most importantly, ensuring there is a diverse workforce ready for these emerging energy jobs as they become available,” says Mike Innocenzo, president and CEO of PECO. “The Philadelphia Energy Authority’s Find Your Power program is a shining example of a successful public-private partnership, as students are not only educated but also equipped with competitive skills to enter the workforce. We are proud to invest in such an innovative program and will continue supporting youth education and enrichment across the Greater Philadelphia region.”
“The Find Your Power program showed me that solar is a growing field,” said trainee Auntor Ferguson. “I’m glad to be hopping on the wave now.”
PEA administers the Find Your Power program as the training component of Solarize Philly, a citywide program to help Philadelphians go solar at home. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) provided seed funding for Solarize Philly as part of the Solar in Your Community Challenge – a federal initiative to support community-based programs to bring solar to underserved communities across the country.
The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census recently found that solar employment increased by 24% in the Philadelphia metro area from 2016 to 2017 for a total of 2,319 solar workers in Greater Philadelphia.
The Solar Foundation also recognizes Philadelphia’s gold status designation from SolSmart, a national program funded by the DOE that recognizes municipalities and counties that successfully encourage residents and businesses to go solar.
“Philadelphia’s fast-growing solar industry is creating new job opportunities while offering
residents a clean and affordable energy source,” says Andrea Luecke, president and executive director of The Solar Foundation, which was also on hand at the event.