The Solar Energy Training class, which has been offered for the past three years at Local 98's Apprentice Training Center in South Philadelphia, is the most popular course offering in the entire curriculum, according to Apprentice Training Director Mike Neill.
Apprentice Training students attend four consecutive four-hour courses. Out-of-work journeymen are also offered the solar energy training, free-of-charge.
To meet the increased interest from members in solar energy and the increased demand from businesses and consumers alike, Local 98 just purchased two new photovoltaic training panels for its 3rd and Jackson Street training facility.
In addition, photovoltaic energy panels were installed on all of the roof surfaces of the various South Philly training buildings, providing apprentices with direct interaction with working solar energy panels.
The solar energy course is offered to fourth-year apprentices and 80 aspiring union electricians are currently enrolled in the course.
"It's the wave of the future and the future is now," says Neill. "At Local 98, we pride ourselves on staying on the cutting edge of technology and nothing is hotter – literally and figuratively – than solar energy right now."