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EIT InnoEnergy Launches European Solar Academy to Skill 65,000 Workers in Climate Tech Over Two Years

EIT InnoEnergy Launches European Solar Academy to Skill 65,000 Workers in Climate Tech Over Two Years

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EIT InnoEnergy, the leading innovation engine in sustainable energy supported by the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT), announces the launch of the European Solar Academy. Mandated by the European Commission as one of its Net-Zero Academies, the Academy aims to reskill and upskill 65,000 workers across the entire European solar photovoltaic (PV) value chain within its first two years.

As the European Union strives to meet its 2030 targets of installing almost 600 GW of solar PV panels and supplying 40% of EU demand for net-zero technologies with European-made products, the need for skilled workers is urgent. Downstream installation is estimated to require up to 400,000 additional trained workers by 2030. Additionally, to meet the goal of producing 30 GW of solar energy domestically, an estimated 50,000 trained workers will be needed in upstream manufacturing. Recent market research by EIT InnoEnergy identified significant skills gaps in training electricians for safe grid connections and certifying construction workers for installation. Specific needs were also found for process engineers, technicians, and operators in producing cells, modules, ingots, and wafers.

The European Solar Academy will address these shortages, focusing on the growing number of solar SMEs. The InnoEnergy Skills Institute will develop a comprehensive library of more than 40 industry-recognized certification courses across the value chain. Leveraging its successful training model, the Academy will certify over 80 local training providers and mobilize a network of industry and workforce partners to deliver courses at scale.

Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, stated: “Boosting solar PV manufacturing in Europe is vital for our energy security, competitiveness, and resilience. Today’s Solar Academy launch proves the Commission is committed to reducing emissions while creating quality jobs in the EU. The launch of the Academy, even before the Net Zero Industry Act takes effect, will help address the urgent skills gap in Europe’s solar PV sector and train a new generation of workers for our solar industry, aligning with our 2030 objective to manufacture at least 40% of our net-zero technology needs.

Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy, added: “Solar power is at the heart of our energy transition in Europe, with the potential to create thousands of jobs across our continent, at all stages of the industrial supply chain, from design to manufacturing, installation, and maintenance. The Net Zero Academy will help our European workers embrace this exciting opportunity and support us in achieving our ambitious REPowerEU goals.

Oana Penu, Director of the InnoEnergy Skills Institute, commented: “To meet the dual challenge of deploying solar PV at speed and boosting the resilience of domestic manufacturing capacity, the current skills gaps in the workforce must be addressed. The Solar Academy will do just that, based on a model that is tried and tested. Our Battery Academy, which has trained 67,000 workers to date, sets a standard for excellence in training and serves as a successful blueprint for the Solar Academy. We look forward to working closely with businesses across the solar PV value chain to develop personalized learning journeys that fit their workforce needs.

Related Article: Carbon Centrum and EIT InnoEnergy Partner to Pioneer Data-Driven Carbon Offsetting

The European Solar Academy was announced today at the European Solar Photovoltaic Industry Alliance (ESIA) PV Forum at Intersolar Europe in Munich.

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