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Help us build a qualified, diverse, equitable, and inclusive solar workforce in Virginia

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Who We Are


SHINE is a public-private partnership initiative created in order to build innovative solar career pathways in Virginia. Founded in 2018 and launched in 2019, SHINE was founded with help from over 20 organizations including Southside Virginia Community College, MDV-SEIA, leading solar developers, construction companies, energy recruiting firms, and tech companies.


  • 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

What We Set Out To Do

Create a hands-on, intensive solar installer training program in order to help Virginia keep up with high demand for solar labor. SHINE's ultimate goal is to help keep the economic benefits of Virginia's expected explosive growth in solar development within project communities.


Solar in Virginia


Explosive Growth in Virginia Solar over the next several years

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Virginia was 7th in the country in solar jobs added in 2019 year-over-year at a 15.4% growth rate. Through the first half of 2020, Virginia's installed solar MW capacity has nearly doubled the total MW installed capacity in 2019, showing that the industry is continuing to grow even through the COVID-19 crisis, especially in the utility-scale sector.







A January 2020 study from the Virginia Commonwealth University Center for Urban and Regional Analysis estimates that Virginia could reach 2,500 MW's of distributed (generally rooftop) solar by 2030. This solar deployment is estimated to generate 29,500 direct solar jobs and $4.3 billion in direct economic impacts from the distributed solar sector alone.

The Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) declares that 16,100 MW's of solar and onshore wind are in the public interest, much of which will be fulfilled through utility-scale solar in rural areas. As of November 2020, over 34,000 MW's are in development in Virginia through PJM, the regional transmission organization that coordinates the wholesale electricity market in Virginia and several other states. Over half of these projects most likely will not get built, but the preparations are being made for rapid utility-scale solar development.

Due to these factors and more, solar is expected to see exponential growth through 2020 and beyond. As a result, it is crucial at this moment for Virginia to aggressively train and build up its solar workforce in order to meet the increasing demand for solar jobs.

Virginia Annual Solar Installations.png

Program & Successes Thus Far

SHINE graduates receive the following certifications upon finishing the 2-week training program:

  • OSHA 10

  • First Aid/CPR

  • NCCER Core

  • NCCER Photovoltaic (PV) Systems Installer

Successes thus far

The SHINE training program has been shut down since mid-March 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions with in-person learning. However, training is scheduled to restart in January 2021 and we are proud to report that our pilot program was a major success.

Pilot Program Metrics (October 2019-February 2020)

30 Students

5 cohorts

100% of graduates have received solar job opportunties

100% program graduation rate

80% of graduates at or below federal poverty level prior to entering program

80% of graduates from historically disadvantaged communities

80% of graduates from historically disadvantaged communities


Charting the course

In order to create off-ramp partnerships for SHINE graduates, we have created 2 platforms to track utility-scale solar projects in development across Virginia: the SHINE Solar Project Pipeline Analysis & the SHINE Solar Rundown


SHINE Solar Project Pipeline Analysis

  • Captures every utility-scale solar project in development in the Commonwealth, including some projects that are years from their estimated Commercial Operation Date (COD) and others that, while technically still in development, have not progressed for an extended period of time.

SHINE Solar Rundown

  • Updated monthly to highlight specific developments occurring in Virginia in the short term and provide a more granular look inside the utility-scale solar space as it continues its unprecedented growth throughout Virginia.

Both of these resources use assumptions and analytics to estimate the labor needs, economic impacts, and construction timelines of projects based on publicly available and privately-collected data.

These platforms help SHINE create projections for the Commonwealth such as the following:

SHINE-Estimated Virginia Utility-Scale Solar Outlook Through 2028

Screenshot of SHINE's Solar Project Pipeline Analysis
Screen Shot 2020-11-11 at 9.40.58 AM.png

30,022 Direct Project Hires

10,411 MW's in Operation

$494.9M in Entry-Level Installer Wages

258 Operating Solar Projects


Help us

light the way

SHINE’s strategic plan builds upon a framework of dramatically expanding our impact throughout Virginia so that we can continue to bring good-paying solar jobs to those who stand to benefit from them the most.


Our Commonwealth Impact Fund supplies the flexible funding for that growth, enabling us to provide valuable job skills at the community, regional and statewide levels. 


SHINE’s Commonwealth Impact Fund propels our mission by:


  • Leveraging resources to respond to the increasing demand for qualified solar workers

  • Designing innovative programs to deliver high-value solar training at scale

  • Building the capacity and scope of the Virginia solar jobs pipeline

  • Practicing good stewardship to increase our efficiency and ensure the trust of our valuable partners

  • Remaining focused on outcomes for those in the communities we serve

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