Graduates of a Los Angeles-based solar panel installation training and certification program serving formerly high-risk, gang-involved men and women will provide labor for PV developer 8minutenergy Renewables and renewable energy provider sPower’s new 72.9 MW solar project in Kern County, California.
The two companies are teaming up to build three solar PV plants as part of 8minutenergys Redwood Solar Farm cluster.
The Los Angeles-based Homeboy Industries’ solar training program works in partnership with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 428 to provide hands-on training and employment opportunities.
Three 8minutenergy subsidiaries will partner with sPower to construct the farms this quarter, with the start of commercial operation set between June and August.
The first three PV plants in 8minutenergy’s Redwood Solar Farm cluster include the 33.26 MW Hayworth Solar Farm, the 20.86 MW Redcrest Solar Farm and the 18.75 MW Woodmere Solar Farm.
Redwood Solar Farms has signed power purchase agreements (PPAs) with Southern California Edison (SCE), Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and the City of Palo Alto, California.
8minutenergy is also developing a fourth project in Kern County, the 133 MW Springbok Solar Farm. Springbok has signed a PPA with the Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA) on behalf of its participating member, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP).
The Redwood Solar Farm projects are sited on 345 acres (140 hectares) of low-productivity farmland. When fully operational, their annual production capacity of 146 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity will provide enough energy for more than 9,200 homes.
Macquarie Capitals Power, Utilities and Renewables team advised on the project and, along with 8minutenergy, provided the development capital.
The Homeboy Industries Photovoltaic Training program covers tuition and supply costs for trainees. Homeboy also offers additional tutoring to help students pass a national credentialing test to help clients become more competitive candidates for employment in the green industry. Homeboy’s solar training staff work to cultivate a network of PV firms that consider Homeboy graduates when hiring. The program has been providing training and jobs in the renewable energy field for more than six years. The program boasts a 70% placement rate within 90 days of graduation among its participants.