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Our Story

SHINE's Mission

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

Solar is rapidly expanding in Virginia, with over $800 million invested in 2022 alone.

SHINE aims to ensure that the communities where utility-scale solar projects are being built participate fully in the growth these investments provide.

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.

Solar in Virginia

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.

As of 2023, Virginia has installed 4,700 MW of solar power generation, creating 4,500 solar jobs, and is generating enough solar electricity to power over 500,000 homes (according to the Solar Energy Industries Association 2023 Report).  Virginia is currently ranked 9th in the country for total installed solar capacity. 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. 

SHINE'S Board & Staff

Rich Allevi - Vice President of Utility

Rich Allevi

Vice President of Utility Construction

Sun Tribe Solar

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Michael Carrington

Human Resources Training Manager

Strata Solar

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Ruth Prideaux

Director of Generation Construction

Dominion Energy

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Stephen Goodin

Executive Director

Strategic Engagement

NextEra Energy Resources

Keith A. Harkins - Vice President of Wor

Keith Harkins

VP of Workforce Development

Southside Virginia Community College

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Byron Lamon

Sr. Vice President

Project Delivery


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Jon Hillis



Rachel Smucker - Virginia Policy _ Devel

Rachel Smucker

Mid-Atlantic Regulatory Affairs & Policy Associate

Clean Choice Energy

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Mary Jane Elkins

David Peterson

David Peterson

Executive Director



Robert Gilligan

Program Analyst


Board of Directors

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Become a Sponsor Today!

Leadership Council

​Benefits include:​

  • Logo placement in marketing materials

  • Invitation to SHINE events

  • Updates on initiative progress and outcomes

  • Social media engagement

  • Company profile for distribution through SHINE newsletter and social media

  • Potential speaking slots at SHINE events

  • SHINE graduate recruitment opportunities

  • Opportunity to support scholarships

"First Solar is proud and excited to be a part of SHINE. With the continued focus on and growth of solar energy in Virginia and across the US, the hope is this initiative can be a long-term contributor toward helping meet renewable energy workforce needs in the Commonwealth.  The initiative is also a shining example of how public and private groups can work together to develop a meaningful program that benefits both sides and the community as well."

Kevin Thornton, Manager of Public Affairs, First Solar

Ambassadors Circle

Benefits include:

  • Logo placement in marketing materials

  • Invitation to SHINE events

  • Updates on initiative progress and outcomes

  • Social media engagement

  • SHINE graduate recruitment opportunities

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"With thousands of megawatts of solar expected to be constructed in Virginia over the coming years, there is an increased need for talent to fill those solar jobs.  As a lead recruiter for many of the solar projects across the state, Aerotek aims to source qualified talent for our clients.  By partnering with SHINE, we are helping develop local solar talent and giving prospective recruits the knowledge and tools to succeed on solar installations.  Solar is a high growth industry with immense solar career opportunities.  Aerotek and SHINE are working to help Virginians tap into those opportunities."

Colin Hess, Business Development Manager, Aerotek

Our Founders

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