Energy Career Pathways
SMUD partners with area leaders to bring solar, shade and beautification to Sacramento public spaces and clean energy jobs to underserved communities.
In January 2020 SMUD, the Sacramento Kings, Baker Energy Team, UC Davis, the Sacramento Black Chamber, the Sacramento Promise Zone and SHRA, the Greater Sacramento Urban League and Spotlight Solar partnered on a workforce development project that will increase the use of solar and renewable energy in Sacramento’s underserved communities while providing neighborhood beautification, technical and career readiness training and job opportunities.
Dusty Baker, bottom of photo, installing a solar array with two students.
“The dual purpose of this program will provide training for jobs in a growing clean energy economy and increase our ability to harness the power of the sun for public benefit”
SMUD CEO and General Manager Paul Lau
The SMUD Energy Career Pathways program educates adults ages 18 and up in the hands-on technical skills needed to work in the solar energy field. Students receive classroom education, hands-on training in the installation of solar arrays and, upon graduation, opportunities to interview with industry employers.
“Solar energy is the future,” said Dusty Baker, owner of Baker Energy Team. “There are immense opportunities with solar and we want to provide the training and skills needed for lasting careers in this growing industry.”
The program includes preliminary training on rooftop solar installations and installing “solar tree” arrays at multiple sites within Sacramento, beginning with the Greater Sacramento Urban League and the Simmons Community Center.
“These artistic solar structures create renewable energy while providing shade, power outlets for visitors and awareness of the benefits of solar,” said Craig Merrigan, CEO of Spotlight Solar who manufacture the installations.
Pastor Les Simmons, owner of the Simmons Center in the background, standing in front of a dual array solar tree.
The SMUD Energy Career Pathways program was created through SMUD’s Sustainable Communities initiative which brings education, workforce development and renewable energy to underserved communities in Sacramento County.
The use of this dual array, 12-panel solar tree generates enough clean energy per year to:
- Power an electric passenger vehicle over 18,000 miles (based on 3.3 miles per kWh)
- Charge over 1 million smartphones (based on 5.5 watt hours per charge)
- Illuminate 380 LED lightbulbs (based on a 9.5 watt LED lightbulb)
- Replace the burning of over 4000 pounds of coal (based on 779 pounds per 1000kWh)
- Equal the same carbon benefit as planting 70 natural trees (based on 11.7 trees per 1000 kWh)
SMUD is a leader in the solar field and our 2030 Net Zero Carbon Plan includes more than 1,500 megawatts of utility-scale solar over the next 20 years.