Thursday, July 8, 2010

SolarTech releases COB student finance study

The SJSU Solar Workforce project is a partnership of the College of Engineering and College of Business with the larger SolarTech Workforce Innovations Collaborative. The former draws on Jim Mokri’s existing class on Solar Engineering.

The latter builds on the relationship between the COB and SolarTech created in Spring 2010 through the efforts of two teams of unpaid interns from the Gary J. Sbona Honors Program. One of the teams was of finance students, and the other was of management students.

The results of the finance study were released Wednesday. The report — “Solar PV Financial Calculators: Study and recommendations for public domain financial analysis tools” — is now posted to the SolarTech website.

The focus of the study is at the heart of the economics of renewable energy. To quote the press release:
All solar projects come down to three simple questions:
  1. what is the resulting cost per kilo watt-hour as compared to other procurement options;
  2. what is the expected return on investment; and
  3. what cash-flows or payback period can we promise investors?
The goal of the study was to study the existing public domain calculators on solar return:
The report was written by Sheirly Caruline, Melissa Kieselbach and Adam Steadman, working with Todd Grenich (head of the the SolarTech finance committe) and David McFeely, head of its external grants program.

This is a great example of how our Sbona Honors students work to solve the problems of local companies and other organizations. The program provides an elite group of 80 students (out of 5,000 undergraduates) to better position themselves for industry careers. I’m proud to be one of the three honors faculty in the Organization & Management department.

In parallel to the finance team, the management students worked on a study of the permitting process by local government agencies. I’ll post a link to that study once it's released by SolarTech.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Green Innovation Challenge awards

On May 26, Governor Schwarzenegger announced that the state Employment Development Department would award up to $20 million in grants as part of his Green Innovation Challenge:
The intent of the grant funding is to encourage industry leaders to find innovative methods designed to meet the needs of businesses to not only fill immediate employment needs, but also for the development of a partnership and infrastructure flexible enough to support employment growth for up to 10 years.

Successful applicants will have business-led partnerships, which may include entities in higher education, workforce development, economic development, employee and scientific associations, along with venture capital entities or other organizations important to making the technology successful in the short and long term.
Applicants had a June 9 deadline to file a 10 page proposal in one of five areas: renewable energy, energy efficiency, alternative/renewable vehicle (and fuels), energy storage and water efficiency.

On June 29, the state announced six winners totaling $19 million, of which three are from the Bay Area. The winners were:
  • SolarTech Workforce Innovations Collaborative (Sunnyvale): $4 million for renewable energy, with an emphasis on PV and solar thermal
  • Northern Rural Training and Employment Consortium (Chico): $3.5 million for renewable energy in covering 11 counties
  • San Jose/Evergreen Community College: $2 million to train workers to build new energy efficient home
  • San Diego Biofuels Initiative: $4 million for biofuels based both on crops and algae
  • San Mateo Community College: $3 million for EV/hybrid maintenance at three community colleges in the SF and LA areas
  • Los Angeles Valley College: $2.5 million to both survey existing water usage and develop best practices for water efficiency
While the funding has been earmarked, each team has to submit an implementation plan to the state before the respective contract can be signed.

SolarTech-Nova-FHDA official announcement

Contact: Shonda Ranson, 408-730-7661

June 30, 2010

NOVA, SolarTech, partners receive $4 million Green Innovations Challenge Grant

Sunnyvale, Calif.— The SolarTech Workforce Innovations Collaborative (SWIC), a partnership of NOVA, SolarTech and DeAnza-Foothill Community College District, was awarded $4 million to prepare the south San Francisco Bay Area to meet the labor needs of the fast-changing cleantech industry over the next two years. The winning plan will train and place 245 workers from the region in various jobs related to renewable energy. As part of their winning proposal, NOVA and the other members of SWIC will be targeting workers who are currently unemployed due to company layoffs or closures. The training to be provided will be determined based upon industry feedback to better ensure that participants will be competitive for local green jobs.

“These challenge grants will give industries in the green economy the ability to develop training programs that they know will address their workforce needs and put people back to work,” Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) Secretary Victoria Bradshaw announced at the June 29 press conference in Oroville, Calif. “Working with community colleges and other partners, thousands of workers will receive the skills needed to keep the green economy expanding now and into the next decade.”

“This award is a crowning achievement for our organization and our partners on several levels”, said Doug Payne, executive director of SolarTech. "It validates our vision to see tighter integration between industry, workforce and skills roadmaps across the entire solar value chain.”

“This grant is more than just running people through training,” explains NOVA’s director, Kris Stadelman. “While ‘clean’ and ‘green’ are tossed around frequently, the reality is that the industry is always changing, hard to define and even harder to staff. The purpose of this collaboration is to fix the labor supply and demand imbalance by creating a flexible, adaptable and accessible process that connects job seekers, educators and employers,” Stadelman said. “We’re going to take that process, test it, then share it to get these critical players working together anywhere and everywhere.”

The Green Innovations Challenge was part of a highly competitive State effort to target green jobs, which was announced in late May by Secretary Bradshaw. Only five other initiatives were funded in this highly competitive, statewide challenge in which $19 million in State funds were granted for industry-driven green jobs development.

About SolarTech:

SolarTech provides innovative expertise to accelerate local solar markets. Since 2006, SolarTech has been developing standards and best practices, working collaboratively to integrate programs across six key solar market development areas: permitting, installation, performance, workforce, interconnection, and finance. In 2009, SolarTech reached over 6,000 industry professionals as the only organization facilitating integrated, private/public collaboration through annual summits and symposiums on these six core initiatives.

About NOVA:

NOVA (North Valley Job Training Consortium) is a nonprofit, federally funded organization dedicated to providing innovative, high-quality, customer-focused workforce development services. NOVA works closely with local businesses, educators and job seekers to ensure that its programs provide opportunities that build the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to address the workforce needs of Silicon Valley. For more information about NOVA, visit