The Solar Foundation has announced that it has been selected by the US Department of Energy SunShot Initiative to lead a nationwide solar energy training program for former military members, Solar Ready Vets.
Of note, the program will work with military bases and local training providers in order to prepare transitioning military personnel for careers in solar, also connecting them to employment opportunities. The value of the cooperative award is approximately $2 million. Through SunShot, the DOE supports efforts by private companies, universities, and national laboratories to drive down the cost of solar electricity to $0.06 per kWh (which, notably, is twice the price of a recently proposed solar project in Dubai).
Andrea Luecke, president of The Solar Foundation, said his organization is known for its solar jobs research, local government technical assistance, and national education programs. She pointed to the National Solar Jobs Census 2015, which shows veterans represent 8.1% of the overall national solar workforce.
“We are honored to now have an opportunity to lead a national program to prepare transitioning military personnel for solar careers,” she said. “Solar Ready Vets will provide meaningful training and career opportunities that will strengthen the solar workforce, the industry, and the economy as a whole. We are looking forward to taking this program to the next level.”
By working directly with military bases and local training providers, Solar Ready Vets targets taking a successful pilot and scaling it into a national program for preparing transitioning military personnel for solar careers, utilizing benefits of the GI Bill.
To launch this program, Solar Ready Vets is currently working with 10 military bases, including Camp Pendleton, Fort Carson, Naval Station Norfolk, Fort Drum, Hill Air Force Base, Joint Base Maguire-Dix-Lakehurst, Joint Base San Antonio, Eglin Air Force Base, Fort Bragg, and Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
“As part of the nation’s community college system, our role is to develop a robust workforce to meet the needs of the local economy,” said Judy Fisher, Salt Lake Community College Energy Institute program manager. “Solar is a growing, thriving industry that is creating real jobs for nearly every possible workforce segment, including veterans.”
“The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has set a goal of employing 50,000 veterans by 2020 and we are determined to hit that goal,” said Rhone Resch, SEIA president and CEO. “Programs like Solar Ready Vets help set us on course to put thousands of these brave Americans to work through better training and a clearer path to a great job in the solar industry.”
The Solar Ready Vets team includes:
- The Solar Foundation (Prime)
- Florida Solar Energy Center
- Solar Energy International
- Solar Energy Industries Association
- Truman Center for National Policy
- US Air Force Brigadier General (retired) Steven DePalmer
“The solar industry offers veterans a chance to be part of a team, building systems where no two projects are alike,” said retired U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Steven DePalmer. “And as the solar industry continues to expand, the leadership opportunities for veterans will only increase.”
Images via SunShot