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  • 02 Apr 2018 11:50 AM | Anonymous

    Solar Supporters, let’s harvest some sunshine together! Go Green Wilmette is writing to ask you to donate to Habitat for Humanity – Lake County to help raise $20,000 to install solar panels on the home being built by the New Trier High School Senior Class this spring. New Trier students raise the funds needed to cover the cost of the house.  Supporters of renewable energy are committed to raising an additional $20K to pay for the solar system and its long-term maintenance.  Your donation, regardless of amount, will help us achieve our goal.

    Please donate here:

    This project will be the very first Habitat for Humanity home in the state of Illinois with solar panels, providing reduced-cost, renewable energy for the low-income homeowner! We are collaborating with Go Green Winnetka, Go Green Kenilworth, Go Green Northfield and Go Green Glencoe on this solar crowd-funding effort. Read about the project on the New Trier website:

    An anonymous donor has given us a $5,000 matching gift – for every dollar we raise, the donor will match it dollar for dollar up to $5,000.  We need your contribution to meet the matching gift. Your donation will go directly to cover the cost of the solar panels. We have already raised several thousand dollars from individuals plus a $1,000 gift from Go Green Wilmette.  With the $5,000 matching gift, challenging us to raise another $5,000, we are closing in on our goal.

    Please help us fund the solar installation by donating directly to Habitat for Humanity here:

  • 14 Mar 2018 12:30 PM | Anonymous


    When the Future Energy Jobs Act was signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner in December of 2016 it was called the single most significant clean energy policy in the state’s history. Supporters of the legislation hailed elements of the law that would bring community solar to Illinois, and others pointed to innovative programs like the Illinois Solar for All program, which was intended to make solar energy a catalyst for economic development in Illinois’ lower income communities.

    Last week, however, a different interpretation of the law came down, and unless it is fixed, Illinois Solar for All will only be available to some, and those in Springfield will be among those on the outside.

    An administrative law judge at the Illinois Commerce Commission recommended that the commissioners adopt a proposal by ComEd that contends that municipal and cooperative utilities should be excluded from many FEJA funding opportunities, including the community solar program and the Illinois Solar for All Program. I’m hopeful that the commission will recognize how this decision constricts the benefits of FEJA, and I want to outline some of those concerns.

    FEJA compliance is accomplished by the purchase of renewable energy credits (RECs) created by renewable energy projects. If adopted, the state would not purchase renewable energy credits from rooftop and community solar installations located in municipal and rural electric co-op territories. This would be devastating to solar development for many central and southern Illinois homeowners, businesses, and renewable energy companies. In fact, unless it is overturned, it would cut out about a quarter of electric customers in central and southern Illinois, excluding them from community solar projects and the widely applauded low-income solar program.

    My company, WindSolarUSA, is a woman-owned business that I founded in 2008. Since June of 2015, almost 70 percent of the projects that my business has developed have been located in municipal and cooperative territories. Our own capital city of Springfield is a municipal utility and, if the ComEd proposal is adopted, will be excluded from participation in these programs. Historically all utility customers in the state have been allowed to participate in REC programs administered by the Illinois Power Agency. In fact, while the proposal would exclude some Illinois communities from participating in programs, the state would still be allowed to use money collected through law to buy RECs from utility scale wind and solar projects located out of state.

    I have no question that when legislators passed FEJA, they intended the law to expand opportunities across the entire state. I am confident that when Rauner signed the law, he couldn’t have envisioned huge swaths of central and southern Illinois being cut out of the benefits. I am also hopeful that the commission will fix this wrong.

    Leaving Illinoisans out of funding opportunities that would allow them to enjoy both the economic and environmental benefits that solar energy development will stunt job growth, it will block investment, and it will stifle revenue growth.

    The passage of FEJA was celebrated across the state. Now it’s time for the commission to affirm that promise by saying that if a REC can come from Iowa wind power, it can come from a rooftop in co-op territory in Central Illinois. If Illinois Solar for All is good for Chicago, it’s good for Springfield. If community solar can happen in Peoria, it should also happen in Naperville. Let’s all hope the Commission does the right thing.

    Michelle Knox is the owner and founder of WindSolarUSA, Inc., based in Springfield.

    Take action yourself by contacting your officials here!

  • 28 Feb 2018 3:53 PM | Anonymous


    Cypress Creek Renewables and Kankakee Community College announced a partnership Monday afternoon that will further the school's investment in renewable energy education and provide job training for the future of solar.

    The initiative, which includes a $10,000 investment by Cypress Creek, will provide scholarships and tuition assistance for students interested in solar technology. The announcement comes as KCC prepares to ramp up construction on its Advanced Technology Education Center, a state-of-the-art facility that will be home to its electrical technology and renewable energy programs. The project was delayed for a lack of state funding, but is back on track to finish in 2019.

    "We were so far ahead of the curve at one time, we didn't know if other people would get caught up," KCC President Dr. John Avendano said of the school's energy programs. "The key is that people understand that there will be green jobs, using what I refer to as green skills. These are electrical technicians who will be working with green skills and green technology — solar, geothermal, wind — but they're still electricians and technicians."

    Solar has the potential to be a major industry in Kankakee County, as the county board anticipates fielding a number of applications for solar farms this year. Currently, more than 3,500 jobs across the state depend on solar technology.

    "The fact that a company like Cypress Creek is here giving scholarships to help educate people to work on solar projects, wind projects, all type of renewable energy projects, bodes well for our area and KCC to continue to be a leader in the field," said Tim Nugent, president and CEO of the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County. "Solar is going to be a really hot item over the next several years and the years to come."

    Cypress Creek, which has similar partnerships with schools in New York and South Carolina, searched across the state for a school to partner with before picking KCC.

    "After the search, we ran the idea by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and they basically told us we could not make a better choice. They endorsed KCC and we're thrilled to partner with the perfect college in this situation," said Scott Novack, senior developer for Cypress Creek.

    The scholarship money is flagged to support a diverse program, with an emphasis on training women and veterans looking to break into the industry. Novack anticipates Cypress Creek projects will be important job creators in Kankakee County.

    "Solar farm is very similar to other forms of real estate development in some ways. It's similar in that it requires a number of trades, oversight on the design process. Along the way there are a lot of qualified professionals that need to weigh in," he added. "We see a local workforce being able to contribute on a number of levels."

  • 07 Feb 2018 1:06 PM | Anonymous
    Source: Solar Foundation

    The Solar Foundation released its eighth annual National Solar Jobs Censusa report on solar employment nationwide and by state. You can download the full report and view an infographic, state-by-state numbers, and other details at

    This year, the National Solar Jobs Census 2017 reported the first decline in solar jobs since The Solar Foundation began tracking jobs in 2010. As of November 2017, the solar industry employs 250,271 workers -- a decline of 3.8%, or about 9,800 fewer jobs, since 2016.

    While this may sound discouraging, it’s important to note that the long-term trend for solar jobs has been very strong. Solar employment since 2010 has grown by 168%, from just over 93,000 to more than 250,000 jobs in all 50 states.

    At the state level, jobs declined in several states with well-established solar markets, including California, Massachusetts, and Nevada. Jobs increased in 29 states and the District of Columbia, including many states with emerging solar markets. States with significant employment gains include Utah, Minnesota, Arizona, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, and others.

    Visit the Census web page for a complete table of solar jobs by state. Next month, we will release an update to our Solar Jobs Map with more detailed state jobs information and a breakdown by county, metro area, and congressional district.



    Key factors behind the decline in solar jobs from 2016-2017 include:

    • A slowdown from the record-setting industry expansion seen in 2016, when installed capacity doubled in anticipation that the federal investment tax credit could expire. In 2017, solar installations continued at a more moderate pace. 
    • Policy and economic challenges led to job declines in well-established solar states, such as California.
    • Uncertainty over the outcome of the Section 201 trade case and its impact on the U.S. solar market. While the Census survey took place in October and November 2017, before the final outcome of the trade case was known, 86% of solar companies indicated their businesses would be impacted negatively if trade restrictions were imposed.

    Other key findings in this year’s Solar Jobs Census include:

    • Demand-side sectors (installation, sales & distribution, and project development) make up almost 78 percent of overall solar industry employment, while manufacturing makes up 15 percent. Demand-side sectors lost approximately 7,500 jobs in 2017, while manufacturing lost about 1,200 jobs.
    • The solar industry is more diverse than comparable industries, but more needs to be done to ensure it is representative of the greater U.S. population. Women made up 27 percent of the solar workforce in 2017, down 1 percent from 2016. Veterans made up 9 percent of solar workers, which is 2 percent more than the overall U.S. workforce.



    • Solar employs twice as many workers as the coal industry, almost five times as many as nuclear power, and nearly as many workers as the natural gas industry. (These comparisons with other industries are based on 2016 jobs numbers, the most recent data available for an apples-to-apples comparison.)
    • Solar jobs pay higher than the national average and are open to a wide range of experience levels and educational backgrounds.



    Looking to the future, the industry faces major challenges in the coming year, including the impact of new tariffs. At the same time, continued state and local support, along with continued interest in decarbonization, resilience, and financial savings at the commercial, state, and local levels, all point to a strong long-term outlook for solar.

    The full report includes much more detail on these findings, as well as information on installer efficiency; solar industry demographics; wages and hiring trends; recommendations; and more.

    The Solar Jobs Census would not be possible without the participation of thousands of solar companies that take part in our annual survey. We thank you for participating and helping us obtain accurate, reliable data on employment in this dynamic, fast-growing industry.

  • 23 Jan 2018 11:11 AM | Anonymous

    Pre-applications are being accepted for the new Central Illinois Solar Workforce Pipeline Training Program.  The attached application must be completed and sent to either Peoria Jobs Partnership or Tri-County Urban League for initial screening and review.  Addresses, websites and phone numbers are listed on the application.

    Those interested may download and complete the pre-application.

    Thanks to a $1 million grant from Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), ICC, along with more than 15 community organizations and businesses, will offer the program, which is designed to build a workforce training program for solar technicians. ICC will serve as fiscal and lead agent for the program, with Illinois People’s Action/Heaven’s View Community Development Corp. and Tri-County Urban League acting as key partners.

    Beginning in Spring 2018, ICC will begin training for approximately 120 students (30 students annually) over the four-year life of the grant.

    After assessment, screening, and orientation, students who are admitted into the program will begin four weeks of soft skills and job readiness instruction and then will progress to five weeks of comprehensive solar technical training. This training also includes more than 58 hours of work-based learning opportunities at partnering businesses. Participants receive a weekly stipend of $10/hour while enrolled in the technical training component.

    Ex-offenders (returning citizens), and former foster youth are encouraged to pre-apply. Applicants must be 18 years of age with a high school diploma or equivalent.

    Visit the College News article for further details. For questions, call ICC at (309) 694-5-ICC.


  • 20 Nov 2017 6:39 PM | Anonymous

    The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in support of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office, is offering a no-cost solar photovoltaic (PV) training program for cities and counties seeking to add solar energy to their facilities (on both buildings and land). The training commitment will be approximately 20 hours over a 12-month period, primarily in 2018.

    The training modules, which take about one hour each, cover the following topics:

    1. Evaluation Framework and Goals  
      • Who should be involved in this process? How should solar opportunities be evaluated?
    2. Site Screening and Evaluation     
      • How much PV can be installed on municipal buildings and land?
    3. Site Assessment and Permitting
      • How are projects permitted?
    4. PV Financing
      • What types of financing options are available for a PV system, and what are the tradeoffs of different financing options?
    5. PV Policies and Incentives
      • What policies and solar incentives can lower the cost of solar?
    6. PV RFPs
      • How is a request for proposals (RFP) issued for PV? What are the most important aspects to include in the RFP? 

    The series is comprised of virtual and in-person training options, and virtual modules are designed for multiple staff members to view together. No city or county staff are required to attend in‑person training. Upon completion, attendees will receive a one-on-one consultation with an NREL staff member to answer any additional questions. Attendees will also be given tools and resources and asked to share what they have learned with five additional cities or counties to help spread the word about adding solar energy to municipal facilities.  

    To apply, please complete and submit the short application form by Thursday, Nov. 30.

  • 23 Oct 2017 11:55 AM | Anonymous

    The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), the most widely respected certification organization in the renewable energy industry, announced three new specialty certifications for the solar industry. Developed in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative, the new certifications are: PV Design Specialist, PV Installer Specialist, and PV Commissioning and Maintenance Specialist. Beginning January 3rd, 2018, the new specialty certification exams, along with NABCEP’s PV Installation Professional (PVIP) Certification exam, will be offered via computer-based testing (CBT) at over 600 test sites in the U.S. and Canada.

    Read more by clicking here.

  • 19 Oct 2017 1:53 PM | Anonymous

    The Solar Foundation, a nonprofit research organization, is commencing its data collection for its annual National Solar Jobs Census. This year, the survey will allow us to not only assess and analyze employment trends, but also understand potential impacts of proposed tariffs and other policy developments. By filling out this survey, your company can ensure that policymakers have complete and accurate data when making decisions related to the industry. 

    Please take the brief survey using the link below. Please be sure that a survey is completed for each of your U.S. locations. The link is specific to your location, so please do not forward this email outside of your organization.

    Follow this link to the Survey: 
    Take the Survey

    Or copy and paste the URL below into your internet browser:

    As a token of appreciation, survey respondents can opt to receive a free copy of the U.S. Solar Market Insight 2016 Year in Review Full Report produced by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research. This report is valued at $4,000 for non-SEIA members.

    PRIVACY POLICY: This research is being conducted for The Solar Foundation by BW Research Partnership, a private, independent consulting firm. Your participation and responses to this survey will not be made public and only non-identifying group statistics will be used when reporting results.

    Since its inception in 2010, the Solar Jobs Census has been used nationwide to better understand trends and impacts in the industry. 

  • 16 Oct 2017 3:06 PM | Anonymous

    Tropical storms have devastated parts of the continental U.S. and U.S. Territories, leaving many without power. Puerto Rico’s electrical grid has been entirely knocked out with restoration estimated to take four to six months to complete. The solar industry has a unique opportunity to provide support for those impacted by these storms by donating products, along with volunteering and contributing to relief efforts.

    SEIA is proud to help coordinate these efforts, but we need your support. We are developing partnerships and coordinating with agencies to most efficiently and effectively deliver supplies that are needed.

    Read more and help out by clicking here.

  • 04 Aug 2017 3:27 PM | Anonymous


    Ben Finzel, 202-277-6286

    U.S. Community Solar Industry Welcomes Introduction of New Legislation in the U.S. Senate

    Bill from Colorado Senator Michael Bennet and New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich Would Expand Consumer Access to Solar Nationwide

    Washington, D.C. (July 31, 2017) – The Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA) welcomes newly introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate to promote customer choice and the development of the community solar market nationwide. The Community Solar Consumer Choice Act of 2017 (S 1670) was introduced by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) on Thursday, July 27, 2017 in the U.S. Senate to coincide with the First Annual CCSA Community Solar Summit, held in Denver last week with over 200 industry representatives.

    “Community solar offers every American the opportunity to choose affordable, local clean energy,” said Jeff Cramer, Executive Director of the CCSA. “CCSA – and its 36 industry members – welcome United States Senators Bennet and Heinrich’s leadership to encourage the expansion of consumer choice and access to solar for all through this legislation.” 

    The new legislation makes permanent an existing U.S. Department of Energy program that promotes community solar by providing technical assistance at the request of state and local governments, and includes specific provisions focused on boosting community solar in low-income communities. The bill also encourages federal government participation in community solar nationwide.

    Bill sponsor Senator Bennet published an op-ed on the bill hailing its introduction and highlighting community solar’s origins in Colorado, and importance for the country, writing on Medium that “Community solar is one of the most promising developments in renewable energy.”

    “Clean Energy Collective pioneered the community solar business model in 2009, and has grown to employ over 100 workers out of our Louisville, CO headquarters, with hundreds more engineers and skilled laborers constructing and operating our projects across the country,” said Paul Spencer, CEO of Clean Energy Collective, one of the nation’s largest community solar providers.  “We see firsthand the benefits these local clean energy

    projects bring to communities, consumers, and the electric grid, and it is our mission to make affordable community solar an option for everyone who wants it.”

    CCSA continues to work to expand consumer choice and access to solar in states across the country.  Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have community solar programs in place, and the standing-room only CCSA Community Solar Summit and accompanying Senate legislation and Op-Ed demonstrate the excitement and opportunity around community solar as more and more states develop and implement new programs. 

    “Community solar provides win-wins for consumers: savings on their electric bill, and the knowledge that they’re supporting local, safe, reliable, clean power generation for the grid,” added Cramer.


    About CCSA: Founded in February 2016, CCSA is a business-led trade organization that works to expand access to clean, local, affordable energy nationwide through community solar. Community solar refers to local solar facilities shared by individual community members, who receive credits on their electricity bills for their portion of the power produced. Community solar projects provide American homeowners, renters and businesses access to the benefits of solar energy generation

    unconstrained by the physical attributes of their home or business, like roof space, shading, or whether or not they own their residence or building. These programs can also expand access to solar energy to low-income households. For more information, visit the website at, follow the Coalition on Twitter at @solaraccess and like the Coalition on Facebook at



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