Local residents interested in seeking a career in Texas solar industry will soon have the chance to get training from Central Texas College.

Beginning Tuesday, the college will offer a new solar training program through its continuing education department. The courses are taught by industry professionals, and will cover training for jobs in solar installation, photovoltaic system design, site assessors and technical sales professionals.

“There are more than 2,500 people working in solar jobs in Austin and San Antonio,” said Teresa Chavez, CTC’s continuing education director. “With current rebates from Oncor, the 30 percent tax credit and the 80 percent drop in the price of solar along with all of the shade-free rooftops, these companies see the potential to sell and install solar in this area. Our goal is to train local workers and employers to harvest this energy gold mine to fuel economic diversity and jobs for local residents and veterans.”

Those who successfully complete the training will be getting in on the “ground floor” of a growing industry, said Joe Mathis, a sales representative for Dallas-based Amazing Solar Solutions.

“It’s a great opportunity for people who are interested,” he said. “This is a technology that more and more people want in their homes and businesses.”

As that demand grows, Mathis said the solar companies like his will be looking for technicians who can design and install the systems.

“Right now, there are some strong opportunities in the area installation and electrical engineering,” he said.

Texas currently has the nation’s largest solar energy resource, however, it barely ranks in the top 10 in the U.S. for installed solar technology.

Mathis said demand for solar power will only increase as consumers look to cut down on rising energy costs.

“Bills are going up, and people are going to look for any way they can to save money,” he said.

Installation isn’t the only area where solar technology might create jobs in Texas, said Russel Smith, executive director for the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association.

“You do need people who can do the hands-on work,” Smith said. “You also need marketing, sales and service as well as regular office workers.”

Contact Chris McGuinness at chrism@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

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