It’s been one year since the State of Illinois passed the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA). This legislation requires that Illinois 25 percent of its power from renewable energy sources by 2025. Until now, Illinois businesses and homeowners have been taking advantage of historically low solar prices along with federal tax credit incentives, but beginning in 2018, FEJA will provide customers with even more attractive solar rebates, net metering policies, and distributed generation rates. FEJA will spur the development of thousands of solar energy jobs as Illinois prepares to install 4,300 megawatts of new wind and solar before 2030.

As solar installations increase in the state, the Illinois economy will also see an increase in demand for qualified solar workers. The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) has been training the clean energy workforce throughout the Midwest since 1990 and beginning in January, will be hosting two Solar Training Academies in Illinois. Training sites include Normal, and for the first time, Champaign.

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MREA’s Solar Training Academy is open to all skill levels and requires no prerequisites or prior solar training. Students will meet one weekend a month, January - March/April 2018 for a series of in-person and hands-on training. Participants are provided with industry-leading solar technical training, from some of the top solar educators in the Midwest. Topics include photovoltaic (PV) fundamentals, PV site assessment, and PV design principles and considerations. Upon academy completion, students qualify to sit for the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) PV Associate Exam, an increasingly sought-after solar credential valued by the industry.

“If you look at industry research including the Solar Hiring and Training Insights report from the Solar Training Network and The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census, you’ll see that the U.S. solar industry is growing rapidly and has a need for trained solar workers. The Solar Training Academy is designed to provide jobseekers with the foundational technical knowledge they’ll need to enter the solar workforce. The Academy also helps students start on a credentialing pathway which should make them more attractive to prospective employers.” - Adam Mehr, MREA

“For the first time in my life, I am doing something rewarding, and it feels great. [Everything] we learned during the course I have seen implemented, and the knowledge has given me a leg up on really applying myself to the job.” - Patrick Laughlin, graduate of the 2017 Normal IL Solar Training Academy who now works for Namaste’ Solar in Denver, Colorado.

In the past year, MREA has trained more than 27,000 individuals as part of its mission to promote clean energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable living through education and demonstration. Education is critical to realizing the economic and job growth potential of clean energy not only in Illinois but through the entire nation.

Solar Training Academy, Normal, IL:

Location: Heartland Community College, 1500 W Raab Rd, Normal, IL 61761


  • 1/20/18 – 1/21/18

  • 2/17/18 – 2/18/18

  • 3/10/18 – 3/11/18

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    NABCEP PV Associate Exam: 3/17/18

Instructor: Clay Sterling, Sterling Solar Works

Solar Training Academy, Champaign, IL

Location: Parkland College, 1315 North Mattis Avenue, Champaign, IL 61821


  • 1/27/18 – 1/28/18

  • 2/24/18 – 2/25/18

  • 3/24/18 – 3/25/18

  • NABCEP PV Associate Exam: 4/7/18

Instructor: Alex Jarvis, Solar Systems of Indiana, Inc.

To register or find more information about MREA’s Solar Training Academies, visit, contact , or call 715-592-6595.

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational organization. Founded in 1990, the MREA promotes renewable energy and sustainable living through education and demonstration and hosts The Energy Fair. To learn more, call 715-592-6595 or visit

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