Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces are outstanding candidates for careers in the solar industry. Military service provides the leadership abilities and technical skills that solar companies value highly. While some veterans begin with entry-level jobs and move up the ranks, others transition directly to advanced leadership roles within the rapidly growing solar workforce.
Through The Solar Ready Vets Network, The Solar Foundation is connecting transitioning military service members and veterans with solar industry career training and professional development opportunities. In partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s “Hiring Our Heroes” program, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), and the Solar Energy Industries Association, we are expanding and strengthening a nationwide pipeline of military talent into a range of technical and leadership roles in the solar industry.
The Solar Ready Vets Network is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office, and follows a two-track approach. The two major initiatives are the Solar Ready Vets Fellowship, and the Solar Opportunities and Readiness (SOAR) Initiative.
Solar Ready Vets Fellowship
Through the Solar Ready Vets Fellowship Program, service members from select military bases will be placed into 12 week on-the-job training fellowships with solar employers to facilitate their transition from active duty to civilian careers in the solar industry. This initiative will be part of the successful Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship program. Service members will come from select military bases in regions with high demand for solar workers.
The fellowship program will be focused mainly on management and professional roles, such as technical sales, system design, supply chain logistics, project development, and operations, in addition to installation. Through placement with industry employers, service members will receive valuable on-the-job training, professional development, and career guidance.
We are currently building a team of solar industry employer partners to host fellows. To learn more about how your company can get involved, sign up at AmericanSolarWorkforce.org.
Solar Opportunities and Readiness (SOAR) Initiative
The SOAR Initiative is leading the way to expand solar career opportunities for veteran populations. Through partnerships among solar companies, training providers, and workforce development networks in high-demand markets, this initiative connects veterans with solar credentialing and professional development opportunities.
Our team is pursuing efforts to:
- Establish an industry-recognized apprenticeship program for greater standardization in work-based learning at solar companies.
- Expand the eligibility of GI Bill benefits for solar training programs and certification exam costs.
- Define “fast-track” pathways to abbreviate NABCEP PV certification requirements based on military experience and qualifications.
- Connect veterans nationwide to appropriate education, credentialing and employment opportunities
How to Get Involved
Joining the Solar Ready Vets Network can help your company seek out highly skilled job candidates with experience in the Armed Forces. You’ll also have a seat at the table on workforce development initiatives that will strengthen the entire industry.
All solar and storage companies can apply to host a fellow for a 12-week training program through the Solar Ready Vets Fellowship. We are also inviting candidates from solar companies, nonprofits, training providers, and workforce boards to participate on our advisory board.
A Legacy Initiative: Solar Ready Vets
In 2016, The Solar Foundation was selected by the Department of Energy to lead Solar Ready Vets, a national program to connect transitioning military personnel with solar training and employment opportunities. Through 2017, The Solar Foundation and its partners expanded Solar Ready Vets from the pilot stage to a national program.
Solar Ready Vets supported more than 500 transitioning service members with training opportunities and provided more than 300 solar employer partners access to highly qualified candidates. The new Solar Ready Vets Network will build on the experience and successes from the original Solar Ready Vets program.
The Solar Foundation has produced many other groundbreaking reports through its solar jobs research. In 2014, The Solar Foundation and Operation Free released a joint report on veterans working in the American solar industry. The report, Veterans in Solar: Securing America’s Energy Future, highlights the contributions of veterans to the solar industry, using data derived from the National Solar Jobs Census 2013. The first-of-its-kind report shows that veterans are employed within the solar industry at higher-than-average rates, and are expected to grow with the overall workforce.