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SRJC Looking to Train More Solar Professionals

Santa Rosa Junior College is in the process of updating its technical instruction with a course of study for both solar installers and solar sales professionals. ABS strongly supports the implementation of this program.

Here is a copy of a letter I sent to the college in support of the program:

Mr. Jeff Mathias

Photovoltaics Certification Program

Santa Rosa Junior College

1501 Mendocino Avenue

Santa Rosa, CA 95401

Re: SRJC Solar Installation Training

Hi Jeff:

I am excited to hear how you are working with the SRJC to develop their photovoltaic generation industry training program for installers and customer representatives. As you are already well aware our industry is short of both. Hopefully the JC administration is aware of the following as they structure this training program:

Demand for solar electrical generation system installation is growing exponentially in California, and indeed internationally. Solar generated electricity is now cost competitive with all other forms of energy, yet is the cleanest and least environmentally disruptive type of energy generation. Economics and environmental responsibility both demand for providing the skilled workforce that is required.

The falling prices and improving technology of solar storage batteries are opening up a whole new and growing facet of solar. The day will soon be here where batteries will be as important a component of solar generation as silicon batteries. This will require even more complex and sophisticated systems than typically installed today. Installers and representatives now have more than ever to master.

The field of sophisticated automated energy management systems will add another level of required knowledge.

The State of California and other numerous governments are committed to the elimination of fuels that emit greenhouse gases to operate its building stock. This effectively means our building appliances will be powered entirely on electricity, increasing the need for tradesmen knowledgeable in the theory and operation of electrical systems. This conversion to “zero net energy” will require another level of knowledge.

As our transportation system becomes electrically powered, skilled solar installers, sales representatives, instructors, and consultants are going to ever more in demand.

Not all the important jobs of the future need years of extended post-secondary education. This training program will provide meaningful and productive alternative career paths for our high school graduates.

The inevitable and important solar and electrical transformation is just beginning. We will need armies of technically and manually skilled individuals, promoting and installing the energy source of the 21 century. The economy, our environment, and society will all benefit from programs such as the JC is developing.

I noted your class prospectuses call for field and hands-on training as well as classroom instruction for installers. I believe this is by far the most effective and efficient approach to learning this subject.

I totally believe we must get past the “by guess and by golly” training most of us currently in this industry acquired. Please let me know what I can do to help get this program advanced. ABS looks forward to hiring graduates of both training tracks.


John Sutter

General Manager

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