Solar Futures shines a light on career pathways


August 22, 2019
Two high school students demonstrate how to correctly wear a safety harness during a class presentation.

As students around the world are speaking up in favor of a transition to clean, renewable energy, GRID Alternatives is working with high schools and youth programs across the country to bring clean energy to the classroom. Our Solar Futures program, supported by SunPower, provides both classroom and hands-on solar education to K-14 students to illuminate career pathways in the booming industry. By focusing our efforts in underserved communities, we’re working to ensure students of all backgrounds can learn about renewable energy and career opportunities.

In the nation’s Capital, GRID Mid-Atlantic is bringing hands-on job training into high school classrooms. The month-long Solar Futures program with H.D. Woodson Engineering Academy introduced the students to solar career possibilities with lectures, safety lessons, and mock installs. The training ended with a capstone presentation, where each student presented one aspect of the solar installation process they had learned about.

In California's Central Valley, GRID has partnered with over 30 local high schools, allowing students to step out of the classroom and into their communities to learn hands-on solar installation skills. This year marked their first Job Shadow Day, where students were able to see the literal nuts and bolts behind making solar accessible to all. By bringing students behind the scenes and putting the tools in their hands, GRID Central Valley is opening the door for the next generation of solar workers and advocates. 

Meanwhile, Jennifer and Cesar, two rising seniors at Desert Hot Springs High School, took their Solar Futures experience in the Inland Empire a step further through a solar internship with their school district. They’re working to install three solar arrays, totaling 1.7 megawatts, on the Palm Springs Unified School District administrative building and two local elementary schools.

Feeling inspired? Check out our Solar Futures Toolkit for classroom presentation materials and activities designed to support anyone who wishes to share their enthusiasm for renewable energy with students. Help inspire the next generation of clean energy advocates by visiting a classroom in your community this upcoming school year.