PRESS RELEASE: Solar Foundation to Lead DOE Workforce Development Program for Transitioning Military Personnel

Solar Ready Vets Program to connect transitioning military personnel with solar training and employment opportunities

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 17, 2016 — The Solar Foundation today announced its selection by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative to lead a prestigious national solar energy training program, Solar Ready Vets. This program will work directly with military bases and local training providers to prepare transitioning military personnel for careers in solar and connect them to employment opportunities. The value of the cooperative award is approximately $2 million.

“The Solar Foundation is known for its solar jobs research, local government technical assistance, and national education programs. Its National Solar Jobs Census 2015 finds that veterans represent 8.1% of the overall U.S. solar workforce. We are honored to now have an opportunity to lead a national program to prepare transitioning military personnel for solar careers,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director of The Solar Foundation. “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, the Solar Ready Vets program will take a successful pilot and scale it into a national program designed to prepare transitioning military personnel for solar careers. The Solar Ready Vets program also aims to create a self-sustaining framework utilizing the benefits of the GI Bill.

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. Salt Lake Community College is immensely proud of our partnership with the Solar Ready Vets program and of the active duty men and women who recently graduated from our first SRV training cohort.”

“The Solar Energy Industries Association has set a goal of employing 50,000 veterans by 2020 and we are determined to hit that goal,” said Rhone Resch, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “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.”

A strategically selected team of national experts in solar energy training, workforce development, industry, and military/veterans affairs will work with The Solar Foundation to achieve impact and bridge the gap between key industry stakeholders.

The Solar Ready Vets team includes: 

“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,” DePalmer added.

About the SunShot Initiative:

The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort that aggressively drives innovation to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources before the end of the decade. Through SunShot, the Energy Department supports efforts by private companies, universities, and national laboratories to drive down the cost of solar electricity to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour. Learn more at energy.gov/sunshot.

About The Solar Foundation:

An independent nonprofit founded in 1977, the mission of The Solar Foundation (TSF) is to increase understanding of solar energy through strategic research and education that transforms markets. While solar energy is a key part of our energy future, TSF is committed to excellence in its aim to help people fairly and objectively gauge the value of the solar industry worldwide.

Media Contact: Avery Palmer, The Solar Foundation, (202)-846-7509, apalmer@solarfound.org