Category: Careers

Washington, DC - Today, the Energy Department announced five additional military bases will join Solar Ready Vets, a solar jobs training program that prepares service members for careers in the solar industry when they leave active duty. The Department is also awarding $10 million to 10 new projects through its Solar Training and Education for Professionals (STEP) funding program, which was created to help meet the solar industry’s growing demand for well-qualified, highly skilled installers and other industry-related professionals.

“Jobs in the dynamic solar energy sector have grown more than 20 percent per year for the past several years,” said Deputy Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall. “At DOE, we are committed to training the solar workforce of the future through our partnership with the Department of Defense, the solar industry, and community colleges around the country.”

These solar energy training efforts build on the success of the SunShot Initiative’s Solar Instructor Training Network, which has trained 1,100 certified solar instructors and provided hands-on solar workforce training to more than 30,000 students nationwide through our nation’s community colleges. Today the solar industry is a leader in hiring military veterans—employing nearly 17,000 veterans to date­—and it is committed to employing 50,000 veterans by 2020.

Connecting a Skilled Veteran Workforce with a Growing Solar Industry

The SunShot Initiative's Solar Ready Vets program trains our nation’s skilled military service members to succeed in the solar energy industry by training them to size and install solar energy systems, safely connect them to the grid, and understand and comply with local building codes. This program, enabled by the Department of Defense’s SkillBridge initiative, allows exiting military personnel to pursue civilian job training, employment skills training, apprenticeships and internships up to 6 months prior to their separation date.

The new training locations and training partners announced today are:

Since the program’s launch, approximately 250 graduates have already completed the Solar Ready Vets training program from 14 cohorts at five military bases across the country: Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton (California), Fort Carson (Army, Colorado), Naval Station Norfolk (Virginia), Hill Air Force Base (Utah) and Fort Drum (Army, New York).

Training American Workers to Build a Vibrant Workforce

To help meet the President’s goal of training 75,000 solar workers by 2020, the 10 new STEP-funded training projects announced today will advance America’s solar workforce by training technicians for solar careers. One awardee under the STEP program, The Solar Foundation, will serve to support Solar Ready Vets and the five new bases announced today as the national administrator of the training program.

These projects will also focus on providing professionals in related fields like real estate, architecture, and fire and safety with the information they need to help accelerate solar deployment. Broadly, the STEP program is meant to build an efficient, well-trained workforce that is familiar with solar energy in order to help make it easier for Americans to install solar by improving inspection compliance, expediting system permitting, and reducing liability and insurance costs.

The awardees are as follows:

Together, these efforts by the Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative help to introduce Americans to the benefits of our nation’s rapidly growing solar energy industry, in addition to access to clean, affordable electricity and career growth opportunities.