SMUD Partners with CA Leaders on Solar Tree Project


Area leaders from SMUD, a community-owned electric service, the Sacramento Promise Zone collaborative, Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce, Greater Sacramento Urban League, the Sacramento Kings, Baker Energy Team, UC Davis and Spotlight Solar have partnered together to create a workforce development project designed to increase the use of solar in public places.

The project aims to install solar trees, manufactured by Spotlight Solar, at up to 11 locations within Sacramento. Locations include GSUL, the Simmons Community Center and a site within the Twin Rivers Unified School District.

The project will educate about 200 students in the skills needed to work in the solar field. Students will receive classroom education, as well as training in the installation of the trees. The curriculum was created by National Energy Education Development, with support from SMUD and Baker Energy.

“We are proud to partner with area leaders on workforce development projects that increase solar use in our community and improve equity within our disadvantaged neighborhoods” says Arlen Orchard, general manager and CEO of SMUD. “The dual purpose of this program will provide training for jobs in a growing clean energy economy and increase our ability to harness the power of the sun for public benefit.”

The Energy Pathways project was created through SMUD’s Sustainable Communities Initiative which brings education, workforce development and renewable energy to underserved communities in Sacramento County. 

“These artistic solar structures provide renewable energy and bring benefits of shade, power outlets for visitors, and education,” says Craig Merrigan, CEO of Spotlight Solar. “Perhaps most importantly, they will encourage many thousands of people who experience them to consider their own energy and career choices.”

Photo: Example of a solar tree

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sharon fine
sharon fine
2 years ago

There was 2 solar trees built on Massie Circle in Sacramento, California at the community center but neither one is currently active. Why build them if they are not going to be able to be used? I think it’s a GREAT IDEA and the community needs more of them but it’s a waste of money if they are not using them.