Solar training received an unexpected yet welcome shot in the arm in California with the announcement that Chinese solar energy giants Yingli Solar are to team up with US non-profit solar installer GRID Alternatives.
It is the biggest donation GRID has ever received, in a deal that makes the Chinese solar company GRID's official supplier.
According to a Yingli press release, the two companies will install 1MW of solar PV systems for 400 low-income families. These systems will generate more than $10m worth of renewable energy over their lifespans. On top of this, the partnership will provide solar training opportunities for thousands of people looking to develop skills in solar PV installation.
The idea of a major renewable energy company teaming up with a non-profit group in order to encourage the uptake of renewable technology in the residential sector (particularly among low-income households) is unique and works on several levels.
It promotes the use of solar energy, which helps the nation meet its targets relating to emissions, energy efficiency, and renewable energy generation.
And it will allow people from poorer backgrounds to gain solar training enabling them to take advantage of the emerging green economy. It will be local jobs for local people.
Also, large multinational energy companies can establish a presence in the US, which could provide a foundation for future investment in the nation's energy infrastructure.
The sponsorship of these solar training programs will create thousands of hands-on job training opportunities in PV installation while helping underserved families with immediate financial savings.
For more information on these solar training events go to www.gridalternatives.org/solarthon