May 11, 2018 Read More →

Renewables Company Funds Solar Training for Skilled Workers in Fossil, Nuclear Fields

Greentech Media:

Cypress Creek Renewables is growing. It’s the nation’s fifth-largest developer and it brought online the most utility-scale solar projects last year, according to GTM Research.

With hundreds of megawatts in capacity expected in 2018, hiring skilled workers to build it all remains a key focus. “A big piece of last year was finding the workforce to come work with us,” said Jaime Carlson, executive vice president of operations and capital planning.

To that end, Cypress Creek is supporting a total of five solar training programs at community colleges across the country. Its first partnership at Greenville Technical College in South Carolina launched this fall. Since then Cypress Creek has offered between $10,000 and $25,000 to programs in New York’s Hudson Valley, at Cape Fear in North Carolina, in northeastern Illinois and most recently in Flint, Michigan.

“It really stems from us feeling a responsibility to the energy industry to be part of the solution,” said Carlson. “As we see changing economics and trends, we really want to be part of making sure there are transition solutions for everyone.”

Cypress Creek selected the programs by assessing where the company has plans for growth, where the solar industry is blossoming, and where high unemployment or a transitioning energy market makes retraining attractive.

In South Carolina, for instance, the failure of the VC Summer nuclear expansion left an opening for the solar industry. Since Cypress Creek’s partnership with Greenville Tech started, 30 percent of new students have come from the fossil fuel or nuclear industries. Two students, Carlson said, specifically cited the termination of VC Summer as a reason for their interest in the program.

In areas where traditional fuels are facing challenges, Carlson said Cypress Creek wants to avoid “an us-versus-them equation.”

More: Cypress Creek Renewables Wants To Build The Solar Workforce Of The Future

 

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