Texas Organization Says Solar Jobs on the Rise in Iowa

By Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

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By Katie Wiedemann

DUBUQUE, Iowa - Northeast Iowa Community College is hosting a solar energy panel installation class.

Owners of a Texas-based solar energy company are teaching the four day workshop. Those teachers believe solar jobs will soon be in huge demand.

After losing a job as a mechanical engineer, Ryan Larson considers himself under-employed. That's why he's taking this entry level solar installation class.

Larson said, "It's something that everybody needs. People want to get off of the grid and stop being taken advantage of by their utility companies."

According to SolPower People Incorporated, the price of solar energy equipment has dropped 80 percent in the past five years.

SolPower People President Cathy Redson said, "while we've been sorting through this financial crisis, the price of solar on a global scale has been dropping like a stone."

Redson says more and more homeowners now want to use solar energy.

Like Larson, the students in this class come from a variety of backgrounds and are looking for a new skill

Redson said, "If you are going to be in sales. If you are going to be in finance. No matter the aspect of the business, you want to go into you need to understand the nature of where the rubber meets the road or where the panels meet the roof."

She says it's a booming business with plenty of jobs, as long as you understand the basics.

A Green Jobs Training Grant from the U-S Department of Labor allowed N.I.C.C. to offer the class to students free of charge.

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