Solar power company comes to southern IL, hopes to hire former a - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Solar power company comes to southern IL, hopes to hire former area coal miners

(Source: KFVS) (Source: KFVS)

A solar power equipment provider has committed to bring a solar power facility to southern Illinois, and hopes to staff it with currently unemployed or underemployed coal mine workers.

According to a press release published by San Diego, CA company "Solar Alliance", roughly 16% of the coal mining workforce in southern Illinois was laid off in 2015 alone.

 The company typically provides business and homes with solar power equipment, such as batteries, or cell panels.

The company plans to install 500kW of community solar generation and battery storage in southern Illinois, which “will include a solar industry workforce redevelopment program that will include a solar industry workforce redevelopment program for unemployed former coal industry workers.” According to a the press release.

Solar Alliance announced the commitment on September 21st, 2016.

“This commitment addresses several interconnected issues: the high cost of energy, underemployment in the coal industry, air pollution caused by fossil fuel-burning power plants, rising greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and the need to integrate renewable energy sources into utility systems. Among basic necessities, increases in residential energy costs have the most regressive impact on low-income households.”

--Solar Alliance Energy

The project will “provide training and employment to 41 community members”, focusing on 30 underemployed coal industry workers, and “employ 38 temporary, full-time individuals during construction.”

The coal mine workers will be recruited through a process that includes coordination with local job placement agencies, advertising and industry outreach, according to the company.

The pilot project will take roughly two and a half years to complete, and will start in 2017 if all goes according to plan.

The company has not made a decision where the facility will be located.

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