April 2008

FSEC Awarded Alternative Energy Training Center Contract

Over the next 10 years, Florida utilities will have to produce 75 billion more kilowatt-hours than the current level of energy output to accommodate the future electric energy needs of the state. At the same time, Governor Charlie Crist has issued three executive orders on energy usage and climate change.

Employ Florida Banner Center - Alternative Energy logo

Based on these needs and concerns, a statewide training program for alternative energy technologies, called the Alternative Energy Banner Center, has been initiated by Workforce Florida, Inc. In February 2008, the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) was awarded a contract from Workforce Florida to establish and lead this training center along with six other Florida partners. The goal of the Alternative Energy Banner Center is to make alternative energy training available for students throughout Florida. 

In general, alternative energy technology is an educational area in which existing curriculum and educational programs are limited in Florida and in the United States. There are some educational organizations throughout the U.S. that offer courses and workshops in alternative energy, but since this training is not routinely available at traditional vocational schools, community colleges or universities – nor is it designed for workforce deployment – there is a need for this new Banner Center.

This educational program will offer two core programs in photovoltaic (solar electricity) and solar thermal (solar hot water and pool heating) technology. Both programs are designed for all students, regardless of skill level. The results from the initial program offerings will be analyzed and used as feedback to update and finalize the curriculum. After the first year, the plan will be expanded and offered throughout Florida at other community colleges and technical centers. The initial curriculum program for these two areas will utilize existing resources, but will expand depending on response from industry and partner feedback. 

FSEC’s educational partners for this training program – Brevard Community College in Cocoa, Westside Tech in Orlando, Tallahassee Community College in Tallahassee, and Broward Community College in Ft. Lauderdale – cover the majority of Florida’s most populated areas. The Florida Solar Energy Industries Association (FlaSEIA) and selected members from Florida’s utility and solar industries will supply the project’s business affiliations. The Brevard Workforce Board is also a partner to this program.