Harry Ohde at the NECA-IBEW technical training institute.

Illinois center helps train clean-energy workers for the future

ALSIP, Illinois — “We take them down and then we get our hands on them and put them up again,” said electrician master trainer Harry Ohde, gesturing at the 54-kilowatt (kW) array of ground-mounted solar panels glistening blue in the sunshine. Some of the panels were missing, stripped down to the ground mounting. Soon, students at the IBEW-NECA technical training institute in the south Chicago suburb of Alsip would be reassembling them. “It’s all hands-on training.”

Next to this solar array is an 18-kW solar carport, with panels on the roof that power electric vehicle charging stations below. There’s also a 3-kW dual axis solar array that moves throughout the day to track the sun.