Solar apprenticeship program heats up in California

To someone choosing a career, the solar industry looks like a gold rush. Solar companies are sprouting up left and right, and hiring installers at good pay.

But that's also the problem with the solar power rush: Businesses that grow overnight may not be around in six months to repair that complicated piece of technology on your roof that fails because a new installer was quickly hired without the proper training.

To deal with that lack of training, the state of California recently approved a solar apprenticeship program at Renewable Power Solutions, a solar energy installer in San Jose, CA, that hopes to make its program an industry standard at a meeting of solar companies in June.

Beyond helping to protect consumers with better installation, the program is a way for workers from the declining construction industry to join a growing field, said Jose Radzinsky, CEO of Renewable Power Solutions.

"The challenge right now is that construction has slowed down" and those skills are needed in solar, Radzinsky told me in an interview.