Powering Chicago Showcases Unmatched Renewable Energy Installation Capabilities, Safety, and Training at Midwest Solar Expo

Chicagoland’s No. 1 Resource for Solar Installations Launches E-book: Determining if a Solar Energy System is Right for Your Facility

CHICAGO--()--Powering Chicago, the labor-management partnership between the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 134 and the Electrical Contractors’ Association of Chicago and Cook County (ECA), will highlight the unmatched solar electric installation capabilities, safety and training of IBEW Local 134 electricians and signatory contractors at the Midwest Solar Expo, May 1-3 at The Westin Chicago Lombard.

Attendees are invited to learn about the unrivaled safety and electrical training of Chicago-area union electricians inside the Midwest Solar Expo. Powering Chicago will host two interactive exhibits, including its Mobile Field Trip Truck, a 73’ semi-truck outfitted with solar and other emerging technologies that every Powering Chicago IBEW 134 apprentice learns during their apprenticeship. In partnership with Powering Chicago, the Illinois IBEW Renewable Energy Fund also welcomes attendees to tour its on-site mobile training unit, which demonstrates the safety and electrical training the group provides to IBEW apprentices and contractors and other industry stakeholders, such as electrical and building inspectors and first responders.

“As demand for solar power continues to rise, driven by federal and state incentives, it’s more important than ever to ensure these installations are performed safely and properly,” said Powering Chicago Executive Director Elbert Walters III. “Our licensed electrical contractors have exclusive access to the largest group of highly trained, qualified union electricians who receive the latest training on solar installation techniques and safety methods specific to solar power equipment.”

Whereas IBEW Local 134 electricians receive the latest solar installation and safety training, proving the safety standards and skillset of other solar installers can be difficult, which can place residences or businesses at risk of incorrect or faulty installations. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, faulty installation is one cause of solar rooftop fires, though rare. However, the department states solar photovoltaics (PV) systems properly installed by qualified vendors should not pose significant risks.

The Powering Chicago Difference

Powering Chicago has been training members on photovoltaics for more than 25 years at the IBEW/NECA Technical Institute (IN-Tech) in Alsip, Illinois. As part of the five-year Department of Labor-approved apprenticeship program, apprentices must complete 8,000 hours of combined classroom and on-the-job training, as well as 200-300 hours of safety-specific training. Apprentices receive hands-on learning experiences at the state-of-the-art facility’s Renewable Energy Training Field, which encompasses all aspects of renewable energy, including solar, battery storage, electric vehicle charging and more.

The Workforce Fire Departments Trust for Solar Power Safety Training

Powering Chicago is proud to partner with the Illinois IBEW Renewable Energy Fund to train Chicagoland firefighters on how to recognize and mitigate the hazards associated with solar and battery storage technologies. To date, the Illinois IBEW Renewable Energy Fund has trained more than 2,000 firefighters, representing nearly 100 departments, on how to identify and protect themselves and the community from safety hazards associated with these emerging technologies.

New Solar E-book Helps Chicagoland Businesses and Facilities Get Ahead of the Curve

Coinciding with the Midwest Solar Expo, Powering Chicago has released the e-book titled “Determining if a Solar Electric (Photovoltaic, PV) System is Right for Your Facility.” This guide, featuring insights from the leading experts in photovoltaic (PV) technology, provides a bird’s-eye view of the current solar energy landscape, business benefits and federal and state incentives, as well as a comprehensive approach to incorporating solar power systems into new or existing infrastructure.

Visit PoweringChicago.com/solar to download the e-book and for all the latest resources on solar power technology and installation as well as find highly qualified Powering Chicago contractors.

About Powering Chicago

Bringing together the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 134 electricians and the Electrical Contractors' Association (ECA) of Chicago and Cook County, Powering Chicago is an electrical industry labor-management partnership that invests in consistently better construction, better careers, and better communities within the metro Chicago region. Employing the latest technology, its members are elevating industry performance through their commitment to safety, level of experience and reliability, while also investing in the future of skilled labor through an innovative apprenticeship program that is paving the way for the next generation of skilled electricians. For additional information, visit poweringchicago.com.


John Arango


John Arango