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Solar Ready Veterans (USA)

Training former US soldiers for the solar industry

TheU.S. SunShot Initiative's Solar Ready Vets program 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. Solar Ready Vets is enabled by the U.S. Department of Defense’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.

Employment in the U.S. solar industry increased 123% over the past five years, and veterans are strong candidates to fill these positions because they are disciplined, motivated, and technically savvy. Solar Ready Vets trains active military personnel who are in “transitioning military” status – within a few months of leaving military service and becoming a veteran – and it prepares them to be strong candidates for positions in management, PV installation, sales, as well as technical positions.

Several military installations tested curricula and program design during the pilot phase of Solar Ready Vets, including Camp Pendleton in California, Fort Carson in Colorado, and Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia. Hill Air Force Base in Utah and Fort Drum in New York launched in early 2016.

The Energy Department is working with the Department of Defense to expand Solar Ready Vets to a total of ten military bases by late spring 2016. Potential locations will be evaluated based on the number of exiting military personnel, the strength of the surrounding solar market, and the training capacity of nearby DOE-supported training institutions.