Expanding a program already in place at Camp Pendleton, Fort Carson, and Naval Station Norfolk, President Obama has designated Hill Air Force Base in Utah as the next military installation to be part of Solar Ready Vets. In 2013, there were almost 143,000 solar workers in the United States, according to the Solar Foundation’s Solar Job Census for that year, a 20% increase in solar employment over 2012. Solar Ready Vets has a goal of training 75,000 new solar workers around the country by 2020.
Solar Ready Vets trains veterans to install residential solar systems on military compounds. The White House has been combating climate change by promoting solar energy technology over burning fossil fuels, as solar renewable energy produces no pollution. Many states offer solar rebates and tax incentives to businesses and individuals who opt to install solar energy for residential homes and commercial buildings. The solar rebates and new program are part of the government’s plan to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 28% in the next 10 years.
In addition to encouraging citizens to take steps toward greener living, Solar Ready Vets is tasked with creating new jobs, especially for returning veterans. In his speech in Utah, the President acknowledged that job growth had slowed during the month of March, though inclement weather was responsible for some of the slow down.
As the number of unemployed veterans grows, Solar Ready Vets hopes to arm them with immediately applicable skills they will need to succeed in their civilian lives.
“That’s how we’re going our keep our economy growing, and how we’re going to create new jobs,” President Obama stated in his speech.
Currently, there are approximately 2,206 companies in the United States that provide solar energy installation services, where veterans will be able to look for work following completion of the Solar Ready Vets program.