- The District of Columbia has launched a new program, Solar Works DC, which aims to train residents to work in the industry while also boosting the city's renewable energy capacity.
- The program was developed by the District's Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) and the Department of Employment Services (DOES).
- The program runs three years, and will train more than 200 District residents and install solar systems on up to 300 low-income single family homes in the city.
The nation's capital last year expanded its renewable energy goals, and now wants to train District residents to help meet the greener standard.
Last June, the District of Columbia Council unanimously approved legislation to expand the city's renewable energy target to 50% percent by 2032. The bill raised the bar from the District’s existing 20%-by-2020 renewable energy standard, and also established a "Solar for All” program designed to cut the electric bills of 100,000 low-income households in half by 2032.
DOEE Director Tommy Wells said the new solar training and installation program underscores the city's commitment "to inclusive prosperity and her continued leadership in supporting our growing green economy, while working to meet our climate change commitments.”
According to a 2016 job census conducted by The Solar Foundation, there were more than 250,000 solar workers in United States, including 1,180 solar jobs in the District of Columbia. Currently, the sector is growing at about 18% annually, with a growth rate of 26% expected this year.
DOEE and DOES expect that Solar Works DC will provide training for up to 225 District residents. To implement the first year of the program, the two agencies awarded $950,000 to GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic through a competitive grant process.