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​COD Solar Training Array Unveiling Set for March 30

A Celebration: Filling the Solar Energy Job Pipeline

With funding and support fromt he California Energy Commission and the Economic Development Department (EDD), College of the Desert (COD has established a true partnership between industry, government agencies, and community colleges to lead the effort to train workers for the emerging utility-scale solar industry in California. The ribbon-cutting set for March 30, 2012, at 9:30 a.m. at the Desert Energy Enterprise Center (DEEC) in Palm Springs, will unveil a 120' solar parabolic trough constructed to train program participants in concentrating solar thermal technology. Most of the equipment for this system was donated by industry partners. The event will celebrate the renewable energy jobs being created in our region. Solar companies currently creating jobs will be recognized.

This event will highlight the emerging clean energy industry in Southern California as well as the partnerships in place to develop the workforce. Executives from partner firms like First Solar, NextEra Energy Resources, and Parker Hannifin, as well as representatives from local Workforce Investment Boards, will attend. The keynote speaker for the event is Karen Douglas, Commissioner of the California Energy Commission, who noted, “The desert region is at the center of the rapidly growing renewable energy industry. College of the Desert has built an excellent utility-scale solar training program from the ground up to ensure that the new solar power plants will have a highly skilled workforce available to meet their needs."

Solar partners have donated equipment, hands-on training and curriculum development for the classes held at the Desert Energy Enterprise Center. First Solar has donated its thin-film modules to teach hands-on installation and sent their senior trainer to teach several of the classes. NextEra Energy Resources has donated equipment for teaching concentrating solar thermal technology and hosted student site visits at their plants in Kramer Junction. There are many others. The DEEC opened in January 2010 and since then has trained workers for utility-scale solar energy plant construction in anticipation of several proposed solar projects in the Southern California desert.
If you have additional questions about the program, feel free to call the program director, Larry McLaughlin, at (760) 773-2595. If you have questions about the event on March 30, call the COD Public Relations office at: (760) 773-2589.