February 16, 2011
Opportunities for job-training and employment in the newly emerging solar energy industry are among the most important economic benefits of the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens solar voltaic installation that is now under way. The Zoo has just announced that three residents of Cincinnati’s Uptown neighborhood have been awarded scholarships to enroll in Cincinnati State Technical College’s Solar PV (Photovoltaic) Installer Certificate Program. Upon completing the program and earning their certificates, the three will have the opportunity to participate in the operation and maintenance phase of the project, currently underway at the Cincinnati Zoo, the “Greenest Zoo in America.”
The program prepares its graduates for the North American Board Certified Energy Practitioner (NABCEP) PV Installer Certificate Exam, and Installer Certification will make them highly attractive to employers in the PV industry or will prepare them to create their own solar PV installation business.
After the initial year of the Zoo’s project, including the current construction/installation phase, the scholarship program will continue through 2018, providing one scholarship per year.
The solar photovoltaic project at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, which will result in the largest publicly accessible, urban solar array in the country, is on-track to be substantially complete by the end of March and fully operational by April 15.
The Melink Corporation of Milford, OH is the developer, designer, owner and operator of the multi-million dollar project, which involves the installation of a 1.56 megawatt solar photovoltaic system with 6,400 panels on a canopy structure over the Zoo’s seven-acre Vine Street parking lot. NDC’s HEDC New Markets, Inc. and theUptown Consortium Inc. provided allocations of New Markets Tax Credits to the project, and PNC Bankprovided the tax credit equity and bridge financing. Over the life of the project, the Zoo will realize millions of dollars in savings in electric bills.