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St. Louis Electrical Industry Training Center Goes Solar

Apr 03, 2013

Missouri’s most prolific producer of highly skilled electricians and communication technicians has a new teaching tool for renewable energy — a solar array on the roof of its St. Louis training center.

The St. Louis Electrical Industry Training has installed 100 solar panels atop its roof to reduce energy costs and provide valuable training to apprentices and journeyworkers. The training center, located at 2300 Hampton Avenue, is operated by the IBEW/NECA Joint Apprenticeship Training Trust, a partnership of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local One and the St. Louis Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). IBEW/ NECA also partner to form the Electrical Connection to advance Missouri’s energy future.

“We have been training the skilled workforce needed for Missouri’s electrical and communication needs for 70 years, longer than anyone,” said Frank Jacobs, business manager, IBEW Local One. “Each technological advance requires an adaptation in our training program to meet the demands of the construction consumer. The rooftop solar array is another creative adaptation to serve the next generation of energy needs and it will save on energy costs.”

The $85,000 investment in the solar array is paid in part by $47,000 in Ameren rebates and $11,352 in federal green energy tax credits. Ameren will provide $2 per watt to the training center for the 23.5 kilowatts installed. It’s estimated that the solar array will save the training center about $156 a month in energy bills and will pay for itself in approximately seven years.

“We’re reducing our carbon footprint while helping our contractors and electricians educate customers about cost effective renewable energy,” said Doug Martin, executive vice president, St. Louis Chapter NECA. “The nation’s solar industry is growing about 40 percent annually, so it’s a great opportunity to capture more of that market.”

The solar array can produce approximately 215 kilowatt/hours per day. It contains modules that allow the training center to remotely monitor the effectiveness of each panel with a computer.

“As we work with our economic development partners to attract businesses to Missouri, the improvements to the training center demonstrate our commitment to sustaining our highly skilled and safe construction workforce,” said Jim Curran, executive vice president of the Electrical Connection.

With 18 certified instructors, the Electrical Industry Training Center trains 850 electricians and communication technicians annually, including 250 apprentices and more than 600 journeyworkers who participate in 50 night school courses. The apprenticeship program requires completion of 10,000 hours of training in a five-year program. Apprentices complete 960 hours of classroom training and qualify for up to 55 college credits at several area colleges upon completion of the rigorous program.

The Electrical Connection members provide safe and reliable electrical construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services across Missouri, the nation and the world.  Learn more at www.electricalconnection.org.