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Solar Ready: New White House initiative preps veterans for solar workforce

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Last week, President Barack Obama announced an initiative that will combine expanding the solar energy business with putting more returning service men and women to work.

“The solar industry is adding jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the economy, creating a source of good paying American employment,” a press release issued by the White House stated.

The new initiative includes training 75,000 people to enter the solar electricity industry in the next five years, many of whom will be veterans.

Veterans will be trained to enter the solar workforce via the Solar Ready Vets Program. The Department of Energy with the Department of Defense is expanding the program to 10 military bases across the country.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the Solar Ready Vets Program:

  • Is tied into the Department of Defense’s SkillBridge Initiative meaning the program is open to active military personnel who are within a few months of moving to veteran status.
  • Trainees participate in intensive four- to six-week training courses where they learn how to size and install solar panels, connect electricity to the grid, and interpret and comply with local building codes.
  • Trainees receive hands-on instruction using industry-standard equipment from master trainers with SunShot’s Solar Instructor Training Network.
  • The program covers a wide range of solar energy careers, including solar photovoltaic system installers, sales representatives, system inspectors and more.
  • There is no cost to participating service members.

“That’s how we’re going to keep our economy growing and how we’re going to create new jobs,” President Obama said.

While we cannot tell for certain how many veterans will take advantage of the Solar Ready Vets program, or how many will actually enter the workforce, we do know that jobs in the solar energy business are growing.

Earlier this month, Astrum Solar became Direct Energy Solar. Located in Annapolis Junction, Maryland, the company is one of the fastest growing companies in the country. It was announced last month that 240 jobs will be added to the Howard County facility over the next three years. Learn more about Direct Energy Solar.


Posted: April 10, 2015