America’s Veterans are Thriving in the Solar and Storage Industry
Thursday, Nov 09 2023
Image courtesy of U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Alexander Quiles.
While November is a traditional time to celebrate our veteran’s military service, it’s also a good time to lift up the contribution to the community so many make after their service is complete.
Since 2013, veteran employment in the solar and storage industry has grown 63% from 13,192 veterans to 21,533 veterans in 2022. This is, in large part, thanks to programs like Solar Ready Vets. Over the years, the program has evolved to meet the changing needs of veterans entering the civilian workforce, and today, veterans, service members, and their spouses can use the Solar Ready Vets NetworkTM to find career opportunities in the solar and storage industry.
Organizational and critical thinking skills, the purpose-driven outlook and commitment to excellence are traits that have historically made veterans outstanding candidates for a wide range of professions and a career in solar is no exception.
The Solar Ready Vets Fellowship is a work-based learning program managed through Hiring Our Heroes that connects transitioning military service members directly with solar employers. The program allows service members to use their talents and skills from their military service to apply for jobs at participating solar companies. Service members receive on-the-job training and work on projects that actively prepare them for a career in the solar industry. After service members complete the 12-week fellowship, they are able to transition to full-time roles with the company.
Army veteran Desmine Greene is a logistics management expert who participated in the Solar Ready Vets Fellowship. “They were looking for somebody that had done the same thing I did in the military: running a warehouse, operating logistics, managing operations, and things of that nature,” Greene said. After his fellowship ended, Greene was offered a full-time position and is still working in the renewable industry today.
Jacqueline Sukhlall served in the Air Force for over 26 years where she held several business management and operations-focused positions. Sukhlall participated in the Solar Ready Vets Fellowship in 2022 and was offered a business development position upon completion of the program. “Serving in the military is a great way to be part of something bigger, and you get a similar feeling working in renewables…it’s a rewarding and exciting industry to be a part of,” she said.
The fellowships have been successful because they offer an “earn while you learn” model, helping to recruit and retain quality candidates. Apprenticeships go a step further and incorporate structured, field-specific training that occurs over an extended period of time, helping to offer stability and a clear career path into the future.
Because apprenticeships are an effective way to attract and prepare veterans for clean energy careers, the Solar Ready Vets Network is developing National Guideline Standards that employers will be able to use to develop a skilled solar workforce through apprenticeships. The network is also creating resources to connect veterans to apprenticeships and is elevating this important work through National Apprenticeship Week activities.
Transitioning service members offer a multitude of skills that can benefit the solar and storage industry, but it takes a sustained effort to welcome this top talent to the industry. If solar and storage employers want to attract, hire, and retain more veterans, they must be intentional and can start by plugging into the Solar Ready Vets Network.
To all of our service members, veterans, and military families, we honor and thank you today and every day for your commitment and service to our country.
Join the Solar Ready Vets Network to receive updates about program opportunities and resources.
The Solar Ready Vets Network partners include the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Solar Energy Industries Association, Hiring Our Heroes, Solar Energy International, and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association and is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.