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October 25, 2021

Frankford High School's new lab aims to prepare students for solar energy jobs

The educational tool will provide the foundational training necessary for entering an expanding workforce

Environment Energy
Solar Energy Lab Zbynek Burival/

Frankford High School in Philadelphia has a new Solar Training Lab that will be used to help prepare students for careers in clean energy. Above, solar panels in a field.

Addressing climate change at an educational level is one of the many efforts that public officials can take to help Generation Z prepare for the impacts it will have on their future.

The Philadelphia Energy Authority, in partnership with PECO and the School District of Philadelphia, unveiled a new Solar Training Lab at Frankford High School on Friday as part of a widespread initiative to train young people for careers in solar and clean energy.

The lab will provide training to students who are part of the district's Bright Solar Futures program, a three-year vocational program aimed at preparing students for careers in clean energy.

Earlier this year, Mayor Jim Kenney committed Philadelphia to being carbon neutral by 2050, an important checkpoint in reversing the course of rapid climate change across the planet. The Office of Sustainability released the Philadelphia Climate Action Playbook, which highlights specific ways the city can address climate change over the next few decades.

Frankford High School's solar lab is a step in that direction, increasing awareness of the need for clean energy jobs and providing the foundational training necessary for students to seek out those opportunities as the workforce changes. 

"Our young people deserve access to the best training possible for the jobs of the future, especially when they are living wage, green jobs," Councilmember Maria Quiñones Sánchez said. "Frankford's new Solar Lab sets the bar high in terms of innovation and technology and helps ensure that communities of color will have access to the jobs and benefits of solar energy."

Emily Schapira, president of Philadelphia Energy Authority, said the lab will provide training in solar and  battery installation, sales, design, weatherization and construction basics.

Philadelphia's Climate Action Playbook addresses climate change in three ways: 

•How to reduce carbon pollution
•Using nature to solve issues related to carbon pollution
•Preparing for the impacts of climate change, including readying the workforce for a shift in energy-related jobs, with a focus on clean energy

A climate assessment released in May concluded that Pennsylvania's temperature will be 5.9 degrees warmer by 2050, emphasizing the need for greater efforts to curb carbon emissions. 

Philadelphia Energy Authority and PECO's investment in clean energy education aims to encourage future careers in solar energy as part of an effort to prepare for climate changes over the next 30 years.

The new lab was funded by PECO and grants from the U.S. Department of Energy.