St. Louis Electrical Industry Training has installed 100 solar panels on its roof to reduce energy costs and provide valuable training to apprentices and journey workers. The training center is operated by the IBEW/NECA Joint Apprenticeship Training Trust, a partnership of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local One and the St. Louis Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). IBEW/NECA also partner to form the Electrical Connection to advance Missouri’s energy future.

“We have been training the skilled workforce needed for Missouri’s electrical and communication needs for 70 years, longer than anyone,” said Frank Jacobs, business manager, IBEW Local One. “Each technological advance requires an adaptation in our training program to meet the demands of the construction consumer. The rooftop solar array is another creative adaptation to serve the next generation of energy needs and it will save on energy costs.”

The $85,000 investment in the solar array is paid in part by $47,000 in Ameren rebates and $11,352 in federal green energy tax credits. Ameren will provide $2 per watt to the training center for the 23.5kW installed. It’s estimated that the solar array will save the training center about $156 a month in energy bills and will pay for itself in approximately seven years.

“We’re reducing our carbon footprint while helping our contractors and electricians educate customers about cost effective renewable energy,” said Doug Martin, executive VP, St. Louis Chapter NECA. “The nation’s solar industry is growing about 40% annually, so it’s a great opportunity to capture more of that market.”

The solar array can produce approximately 215 kWh per day. It contains modules that allow the training center to remotely monitor the effectiveness of each panel with a computer.

“As we work with our economic development partners to attract businesses to Missouri, the improvements to the training center demonstrate our commitment to sustaining our highly skilled and safe construction workforce,” said Jim Curran, executive VP of the Electrical Connection.