The Solar Hands-On Instructional Network of Excellence (SHINE), is a public-private partnership founded by Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC), the Maryland-DC-Delaware-Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association (MDV-SEIA), leading solar developers, construction companies, energy consulting & recruiting firms, and tech companies to build innovative solar career pathways in Virginia.
SHINE's mission is to:
Develop a qualified, diverse, equitable, and inclusive solar workforce
Equip Virginians with the tools and knowledge to enter the solar sector with a competitive edge
Help solar developers and construction companies source qualified and trained talent
Bridge the gap between solar jobs supply and solar jobs demand
Because Virginia has historically lagged behind other Eastern states in solar installations, many of the early solar jobs went to out-of-state workers. Noting this dynamic, SHINE's founders came together in 2018 to identify ways to keep solar jobs and corresponding economic benefits in-state. What came from this discussion and collaboration was a strategic approach to launch SHINE as a vehicle to prepare Virginia and its citizens to realize maximum employment, community development, and economic benefits of anticipated solar market growth.
Since 2013, the state has completed over 6,500 solar installations, adding over 775 MW of solar capacity to the grid, creating over 4,000 solar jobs, and generating enough electricity to power over 87,000 homes (according to the Solar Foundation's 2018 National Jobs Census). Virginia is currently ranked 18th in the country by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) for generating 1.03% of its total electricity from solar resources. Over the next 5 years, this % is expected to increase significantly. Legislation in Virginia has made it easier to develop solar projects and Fortune 100 corporations and other companies in the state have set aggressive renewable energy procurement commitments. The solar industry estimates that 2-5 gigawatts of solar will come online in the next few years, generating tens of thousands of full-time equivalent jobs.
SHINE wants to ensure that the benefits from these solar projects are optimized locally and is working with academic partners across Virginia to launch solar training programs, providing the skills, knowledge, and pathways for Virginians to access these jobs and build sustainable solar careers. As graduates complete the SHINE program, they will have the opportunity to interview with leading solar developers and construction companies. A win-win for both sides. Solar developers and construction companies get access to qualified, well-trained talent while Virginians get access to well-paying (above market) jobs that make a meaningful commitment to our communities and environment.
To make the vision a reality, the founders of SHINE have mobilized over $1 million in funding from public and private sources.