Browse Tag: energy

White House Announces “G.I. Bill For Solar Workers”

English: On 140 acres of unused land on Nellis...

Property managers, landlords, tenants wrestling with improvements, regulators, buyers and sellers — take note. Solar is absolutely the energy future for the United States.

Last month the Obama administration put a significant amount of federal muscle behind the push to modernize buildings in the United States with energy solutions that get away from fossil fuels. What’s new in this development is the funding for training a whopping 75,000 solar workers – using veterans in large part to expand that workforce.

Veterans are an excellent source of expertise for this program for a special reason.  The Defense Department has long understood that dependence upon fossil fuels creates a national strategic liability. It’s an ironic (and happy) fact that the people charged with protecting the US and its energy sources just don’t listen to the endless right wing noise machine that casts solar as some kind of elite tree-hugging plot instead of what it is — the future of energy.

Read the entire White House Fact Sheet here.

  • Training 75,000 Solar Workers: The Department of Energy (DOE) is announcing a goal to train 75,000 people to enter the solar workforce by 2020, some of whom will be veterans. This is an increase from the previous goal of training 50,000 solar workers by 2020 announced in May 2014. The new goal builds on the tremendous progress of DOE’s SunShot Initiative’s Solar Instructor Training Network, which includes 400 partnering community colleges across the country and has trained more than 1,000 certified solar instructors and nearly 30,000 students nationwide in the last five years.
  • Launching a Solar Ready Vets Program: DOE, in partnership with the Department of Defense (DOD), is launching a Solar Ready Vets program at 10 military bases across the country, including at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, which has already taken leadership by installing solar panels onsite. The program also includes participation from Camp Pendleton in California, Fort Carson in Colorado, and Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, all which announced pilot initiatives earlier this year and are serving as a model for the Solar Ready Vets program.

 

  • The Solar Ready Vets program will train transitioning military service personnel to enter the solar workforce by joining with SunShot’s Solar Instructor Training Network and leveraging the DOD’s Skillbridge transition authority authorized by Congress in 2012. Consistent with the Vice-President’s job-driven training agenda, the program is based on the specific needs of high-growth solar employers, is tailored to build on the technician skills that veterans have acquired through their service, and incorporates work-based learning strategies. Service members will learn how to size and install solar panels, connect electricity to the grid, and interpret and comply with local building codes. This accelerated training will prepare them for careers in the solar industry as installers, sales representatives, system inspectors, and other solar-related occupations.

 

  • Utilizing the GI Bill for Solar Workforce Training: The Department of Veterans Affairs is committing to working with DOE and State Approving Agencies to achieve approval for GI Bill funding for DOE’s Solar Ready Vets initiative. Over time, this approval will enable more veterans across the country to use their GI Bill benefits to participate in this job-driven training program through local community colleges, where they will quickly learn the skills needed for good-paying jobs in the solar industry. Adding Solar Ready Vets will expand the existing network of programs providing service members and veterans opportunities to gain skills to enter the solar workforce through their GI Bill.

Understanding The Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate

Photo of David Lynn addressing NAR Expo 2014

Bringing an objective, research-oriented approach to issues in commercial and residential real estate is Counselors Of Real Estate (CRE), a group whose advisors deliver unbiased and trusted advice to clients and employers. Sporting a CRE designation before the NAR Expo 2014 this morning was David Lynn, CEO of Everest High Income Property who sought to sum up the entire coming year in a list of ten issues affecting the real estate marketplace for commercial as well as residential.

Issue #10: Agriculture

Lynn noted that even though agriculture historically goes through cyclical changes and volatile demand, the past two decades in farming have by contrast produced little in the way of complaint from the sector.  Efficiencies in farming equipment and processes have steadily goosed output while rising world populations have and will continue to drive demand from the world’s #1 food producer, the United States.  One major impact Lynn sees coming in tertiary and smaller real estate markets is rising demand for location in these places.  This idea made me think of yesterday’s session with Craig Lindvahl and his efforts to educate small-town youth in the opportunity present in their own back yard.  There’s a lot of synergy between these two outlooks.

Issue #9: Manufacturing

The US decline in manufacturing is over, and domestic output is on the rise, foretelling a robust market for industrial property. That said, Lynn pointed out that manufacturing in the early 21st century, similar to farming, is greatly automated and geared toward customization, which will tend to not drive job growth.

Issue #8: Housing

The housing market bottom came in 2012 and Lynn sees growth in housing commensurate with that event.

Issue #7: Capital Markets

A much-feared wave of maturity of commercial mortgage-backed securities has come and gone, said Lynn, resulting in a non-event.  The majority of CMBS maturities simply extended their terms “kicking the can down the road” and cleared the way through the market fear to allow a resurgence in CMBS financing.  Lynn sees $360 billion in CMBS financing maturing by 2017 and touted improved underwriting of the instruments.

Issue #6: Water

There is a shortage of fresh water in the world and millions die each year due to lack of access to clean water. This reality along with that of climate change adds up, according to Lynn, to a decline in suburban development.

Issue #5: Globalization

With more and more of US GDP tied up with imports and global transactions, a development Lynn sees as by and large positive, real estate values in cities best connected to global flows of goods are in the main expected to rise.  Additionally, the US has become the world’s leading exporter of oil and natural gas, which speaks to rising land values in producing areas.

Issue #4: Health Care

The Affordable Care Act served to add 40 million people to the health care system, which in turn has produced a wider range of health care delivery formats and locations convenient to general populations.  Lynn sees this trend, along with the prolonged life spans of the US population as a driver for retail and office property.

Issue #3: Millennials

The youngest generation of adults prefers urban living and mass transit, and Lynn pointed out this age cohort numbers the same size as baby boomers. While it’s not clear if the behavioral trends of millennials will hold out, Lynn sees improved values for urban space and declining demand for housing in suburban enclaves.

Issue #2:  Jobs

The great recession cost millions and millions of jobs, recovering to 2008 levels only this year. But persistent trends in underemployment make the unofficial unemployment rate closer to 9% according to Lynn. He spelled out that a decline in office space per employee has halved on average to 150 sq. ft. per worker.  Retail and office property values aligning with millennial lifestyle preferences for more collaborative and nontraditional working arrangements will tend to produce downward pressure on demand.

Issue #1: Energy

Lynn referenced a sea change in energy markets over the past five years.  Driven by fracking technology, the “whole equation has been changed” were the US produces the cheapest energy of any country in the world.  California, Dakotas, Montana, Pennsylvania and other energy-producing areas have added up to rising values for commercial and residential real estate close by, making former “flyover” areas far more generally desirable.