Prospective Students: Build Your Solar Career

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of taking a SHINE class?


Solar jobs in the U.S. have been growing quickly. There are now over 242,000 solar workers in the country, a 159% increase since 2010. As more states set renewable energy targets and more companies commit to reducing their carbon footprints, this number is expected to grow. Within Virginia, there are 4,000 solar jobs, a 9.1% increase over 2017, and thousands of additional solar jobs are expected to open up over the next several years.

Completing a SHINE Solar Ready 101 Program prepares you to begin a career in the solar industry with specific knowledge and tools related to solar installations. It also provides skills and knowledge that can be transferred to other entry-level construction jobs. Upon completion of the SHINE program, our team will help facilitate interviews with solar developers.




Who is eligible to take SHINE classes?


Anyone interested in building a solar career is encouraged to apply. Women, minorities, and veterans are particularly encouraged to apply. SHINE is committed to building a solar workforce in Virginia that is more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. We welcome applicants of all backgrounds. The only pre-requisite is a high school (or equivalent) diploma.




When and where are classes held?


Classes will be held at Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) in Blackstone, Virginia. SVCC and SHINE have built a new solar learning lab to give students an immersive, hands-on experience. We are planning to partner with additional academic institutions around Virginia in the near future.

Dates for each cohort will be listed on SVCC’s website. Each program runs for 2 weeks, Monday-Friday. Please check www.southside.edu/solar for program dates.




What is the cost to participate?


While the total cost of tuition for the SHINE Solar Ready 101 Program is $1,296, SHINE can help qualified prospective students that live in Virginia tap into tuition reimbursement to reduce this cost to $564. If you are unable to cover the $564, there are also scholarships available on a financial needs basis. SHINE is committed to ensuring that program cost is not a barrier to entry.




What happens after graduation?


Students that successfully graduate from the SHINE Solar Ready 101 Program will have an opportunity to interview with SHINE’s solar developer and construction company partners. SHINE will help facilitate interviews and is committed to helping source job opportunities for graduates.




Is job placement guaranteed once a participant completes the program?


SHINE will help facilitate job interviews as part of the Solar Ready 101 Program. You will still have to interview with each company you are interested in and each company will make the final determination on whether an offer will be made. The SHINE Solar Ready 101 Program is designed to help you stand out during the interview process and to show potential employers that you have put the time and effort needed to add value to a solar job installation on Day 1.




What salaries can graduates of SHINE expect?


Entry level solar installation jobs typically begin with salaries in the $13-$15 per hour range. However, SHINE’s solar developer partners may provide a wage bump if you complete the SHINE Solar Ready 101 Program. This will depend on a number of factors and is at the discretion of the employer.

Solar installer jobs have quick upward mobility. Those that perform well on the job can quickly move up into leadership positions with higher salaries. Please visit the Solar Career Pathways tab for more details.




Will the solar job opportunities for SHINE graduates be in Virginia?


Yes. SHINE is working closely with industry partners to time each class to match job demand. A number of large-scale solar projects are expected to begin construction soon and are looking to hire Virginians. It is therefore expected that most SHINE graduates will be able to find work upon graduation on a solar installation in Virginia.

In cases when that may not be possible, SHINE can help source job opportunities in neighboring states. Typically, if solar developers or construction companies hire you to support out of state installations, they will help cover the costs of travel, lodging, and food.




Will SHINE offer more advanced classes in the future?


Yes, we are exploring other certifications that may be helpful for our students to take in the future. Please check the website for any updates.





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