The US solar workforce is facing a funding gap of around $70 million, necessitating new public-private finance models to meeting growing industry training needs, according to research.
The joint Solar Foundation, SolarTech and North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) paper delves into the solar industry’s workforce development needs.
The paper, Financing the Next Generation of Solar Workers, analysed the current solar workforce development field, with the authors specifically determining which training programs they felt were key to the industry and in possible need of private support in the future.
The paper centres around the fact funding for a number of solar training programmes has ended. The authors suggest possible funding mechanisms for sourcing public and private capital, while effectively distributing funds to programmes with the most need.
According to the paper, the funding gap in workforce training funding is estimated to be at least US$70 million over the next several years. Using public/private partnerships, revolving loan programmes and crowd sourcing, the authors posit that the potential for sustainable financing mechanisms and the allotment of the resources can be given to programmes and markets with high demand
Andrea Luecke, Executive director of The Solar Foundation, said the funding structures proposed were not supposed to be an immediate remedy, but rather a proposal, which she hoped would open the door for conversations to begin between the solar industry and relevant stakeholders.
Access to Financing the Next Generation of Solar Workers can be found here.