Oscar Flores trainee

The Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing Program is designed to assist those interested in solar industry jobs in a variety of ways, including acquiring or strengthening skill sets, meeting and networking with solar contractors and industry professionals and being part of solar energy installations. In the case of Oscar Flores, a former SOMAH job trainee from El Monte, California, his paid training was all three. 


When Oscar Flores was an undergraduate majoring in electrical engineering at the University of California, San Diego, in 2019, he had no idea that an internship in the solar industry would give him solid career opportunities. However, he did see that renewable energy, particularly solar, was a fast-growing industry, so he began volunteering on residential solar installations with GRID Alternatives in the San Diego, Los Angeles and Inland Empire regions during 2019‒20.

“I knew the solar industry was a good place to be career wise, but I did not really consider it for myself until I started doing solar installations — that opened up the world of solar for me, and I have not looked back since,” Oscar says.

Through this internship with GRID, Oscar was able to move up from volunteering to a paid job training opportunity with SOMAH, working on a project at the Loma Sierra Apartments, in Loma Linda, Calif. Under the guidance of the construction team, he was able to help install a 95-KW system for 24 units. Oscar emphasizes this SOMAH project was a powerful experience that taught him many skills and gave him insight into the scope and scale of multifamily housing installations. 

According to Oscar, his involvement with SOMAH went beyond the hands-on training in the field. He also was able to work alongside, connect and network with professionals in the solar contracting industry. He truly believes this helped lay the foundation for his career path: “The skills I learned from people [in the construction team] like Angel, Miguel and Derek were invaluable; my knowledge around solar energy went from 0%‒100%.”

After completing his training, Oscar began working as a design assistant for Motive Energy, in Victorville, Calif., where he is currently a solar systems engineer. His time is split between residential and commercial installations, doing everything from electrical calculations, code considerations and equipment ordering to project coordination and biweekly status reports and updates. He is also studying photovoltaic system design for residential and commercial properties, so that he can move up in the industry, and wants to learn about tying in energy storage technologies.

Oscar strongly recommends that anyone interested in the solar industry consider SOMAH’s job training offerings. Beyond the exposure to hands-on training opportunities, he cites his personal growth, having reached goals through mentorship and guidance, and just connecting with great people. “One of my favorite memories is that after work, the entire team would sit and share our hopes and dreams — that's still a highlight for me,” he recalls. 

What’s the bottom line that Oscar wants job seekers to know? “Look around for opportunities, there’s a lot available at organizations like GRID Alternatives and SOMAH – you just have to make it happen.”

Want to learn more about SOMAH's job training and how you can get involved?

Visit SOMAH's Job Training Eligibility page or contact workforce@CalSOMAH.org

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