SAN JOSE, Calif., June 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Downtown San Jose's iconic purple museum is going green. Clean energy, education, and job training are uniting four local partners on a mission to save energy, educate youth, and rebuild lives. SunPower®, one of the world's most innovative and sustainable companies, is donating 90 solar panels to Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose, and one of the Bay Area's leading solar installers and a SunPower Elite Dealer, Clean Solar, is providing installation services with the help of students from San Jose Conservation Corps, a nonprofit that helps young people get their high school diploma while learning valuable work and life skills. This partnership is part of a larger story unfolding in clean energy that is finding solutions to address climate crisis and income equality. Just ask Edward Wiltz, Jr. and Antonio Fabela – see below.
On June 29 at 11 a.m., Clean Solar technicians and young trainees from the Corps will be joined by San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo as the team continues its installation of SunPower® panels on the roof of the museum's new fabrication facility, the "Builder Building," where hands-on exhibits are built. The museum estimates it will save between $6,000 and $7,000 annually in energy costs, the companies benefit from being introduced to potential new recruits, and the youth receive valuable training with the opportunity to showcase their skills and work ethic to potential employers.
"We're grateful for these donations from Clean Solar and SunPower.The panels will cover 50 percent of the costs to power the museum's 'Builder Building,' and will be part of future environmental education programs," said Marilee Jennings, the executive director of Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose. "To see this project come together in support of the museum's 'Environmental Stewardship commitment,' and also advance a job training program for disadvantaged youth, is incredibly rewarding for us."
"The passion for innovation, creativity and discovery sparks at an early age," said Mayor Sam Liccardo. "The partnership created today – among SunPower, Clean Solar, the San Jose Conservation Corps, and Children's Discovery Museum -- gives us the opportunity to pique the interests of our youth, while also supplying renewable energy to the museum. In this way, we inspire passionate children and limit carbon emissions. Overall, it's a terrific demonstration of how partnerships help the city accomplish its goals in new ways."
"At SunPower, our team works every day to help change the way our world is powered with our innovative, leading technology and solar solutions," said Doug Richards, executive vice president, administration at SunPower. "The Children's Discovery Museum's solar installation project is a great example of our ability to power an important learning facility in our back yard, educate visitors on environmental stewardship and teach those entering the workforce important skills in a growing sector."
Edward Wiltz, Jr. and Antonio Fabela weren't looking to become symbols of the renewable economy – they were just looking for a way out and a way up.
Ed Wiltz, Jr. first worked with Clean Solar through a federally-funded solar training program, Solar Richmond, when he was 18 years old. "The biggest thing I was up against was making it out of the 'hood.' In Richmond, I didn't really see a lot of hope," said Ed Wiltz, Jr. Soon after, he applied for an installation position in the company - that was five years ago. Currently, Ed is on track to lead his own Clean Solar install team. Ed's story is featured in the award-winning documentary, "Catching the Sun," by director Shalini Kantayya. A national screen tour is currently presenting this film in theaters across the country. Clean Solar CEO, Randy Zechman, stated, "We're really proud and excited to be a part of the team installing solar on Children's Discovery Museum. It's important to make local investments and give back to the community that we live in. Ed Wiltz is a great success story and he's part of our Clean Solar family."
Antonio Fabela, a 21-year-old student with the San Jose Conservation Corps, admittedly made some bad decisions that led to his dropping out of high school. He eventually enrolled in the Corps after deciding, "I didn't want to continue living the same way and I wanted a better life with more opportunities and a good job." Now Antonio's motivated to graduate in 2017 and wants a career in clean tech. "I feel accomplished after each installation," said Antonio. "The San Jose Conservation Corps really helped me turn my life around and I wouldn't be here without their help pushing me to strive for more and to be better."
About Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose
With over 150 interactive exhibits and programs, Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose is one of the largest museums of its kind in the nation. Since opening its doors in 1990, CDM has welcomed over 7 million visitors and has offered new exhibits each year that respond to children's diverse educational needs. The striking 52,000 square foot purple building was designed by Mexico City-based architect Ricardo Legorreta and is a beacon of discovery. Encompassing the broad themes of community, connections and creativity, hands-on exhibits invite self-directed, open-ended explorations. For more information about the Museum, visit www.cdm.org.
About Clean Solar
Clean Solar has been installing residential and commercial solar since 2007 and since day one, has given back to the community with each client selecting a charity for Clean Solar to donate to in their name. To date, Clean Solar has donated over $250,000 to local nonprofits. Clean Solar continues to be at the forefront of exceptional customer service in an effort to change the way home and business owners look at solar. Clean Solar is the Bay Area's leading residential and commercial solar installation company. Home and business owners receive comprehensive, custom solar solutions to meet their specific electricity needs. Along with custom solutions, Clean Solar also offers many financial options including PACE and $0 down solar leases. They are top rated on review sites like Yelp, Angie's List, and Diamond Certified and have numerous awards as the Best Bay Area Solar Installer. Clean Solar is headquartered in San Jose, California, and was founded by Randy Zechman and Jeff Ritchey in 2007. For information about Clean Solar, visit www.CleanSolar.com.
As one of the world's most innovative and sustainable energy companies, SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) provides a diverse group of customers with complete solar solutions and services. Residential customers, businesses, governments, schools and utilities around the globe rely on SunPower's more than 30 years of proven experience. From the first flip of the switch, SunPower delivers maximum value and superb performance throughout the long life of every solar system. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, SunPower has dedicated, customer-focused employees in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America. For more information about how SunPower is changing the way our world is powered, visit www.sunpower.com.
About San Jose Conservation Corps
San Jose Conservation Corps & Charter School programs have provided quality career technical and construction/green building education programs for 23,000 at-risk youth throughout Santa Clara County for over 28 years. The San Jose Conservation Corps & Charter School offers high school education leading to a diploma, paid career technical education training, as well as YouthBuild and AmeriCorps leadership and service opportunities to youth who have previously dropped out of high school. It is the mission of the San Jose Conservation Corps & Charter School to provide youth with a quality high school education and valuable work and life skills that empower them to become responsive, productive and caring citizens.
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