By Debbie Gregory.
In the pilot phase of the SunShot Initiative’s Solar Ready Vets program, only three military installations participated in the training our nation’s transitioning servicemembers for careers in the solar energy industry. Now, seven additional installations are participating in the highly successful program.
The program is made possible through the DoD’s SkillBridge initiative, which allows exiting military personnel to pursue civilian job training, employment skills training, apprenticeships, and internships up to six months prior to their separation.
Expanding on a previous pilot program, the training connects our nation’s skilled veterans to the solar energy industry, preparing them for careers as solar photovoltaic (PV) system installers, sales representatives, system inspectors, and other solar-related occupations.
Military bases were selected by the Department of Energy, in partnership with the Department of Defense and military branches, based on the number of exiting military personnel from the installation, the strength of the surrounding solar market, and the training capacity of nearby training institutions.
Solar Ready Vets is currently available at the following military installations:
- Camp Pendleton in California – U.S. Marine Corps
- Eglin Air Force Base in Florida – U.S. Air Force
- Fort Bragg in North Carolina – U.S. Army
- Fort Carson in Colorado – U.S. Army
- Fort Drum in New York – U.S. Army
- Hill Air Force Base in Utah – U.S. Air Force
- Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey – U.S. Air Force, Army, and Navy
- Joint Base San Antonio in Texas – U.S. Air Force and Army
- Marine Corps Base Hawaii – U.S. Marine Corps
- Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia – U.S. Navy
Employment in the U.S. solar industry increased 123% since 2010. The Energy Department has secured commitments from some of the largest U.S. solar companies to interview graduating military trainees for employment, a step that will help place qualified trainees in the high-paying jobs for which they received training.