In 2014 President Obama announced The SunShot Initiative’s Solar Instructor Training Network. The SunShot Initiative is a Solar Foundation program that has been partnering with military bases to conduct a veterans solar job training pilot project the foundation calls Solar Ready Vets. The aim Obama announced in October 2014 is to train 50,000 new solar installers by 2020.

In October 2016 the Solar Foundation put out a press release from the Solar Foundation to promote an Employer Info Session organized to inform San Antonio area solar employers about how to connect with graduates of its Solar Ready Vets. Here is an excerpt:

Solar Ready Vets hosted a great employer information session at Alamo Colleges, San Antonio on October 21st. The event’s main goal was to inform solar employers on how they can connect with and hire graduates of the Solar Ready Vets program. Attendees heard from representatives from Alamo Colleges and Joint Base San Antonio about the curriculum and its certification and benefits. Program Director Tenley Dalstrom and retired Brigadier General Steven DePalmer also provided their insights. At the end of the session, attendees were given an optional tour of Alamo Colleges Advanced Manufacturing Lab and Solar Institute.

FAQs about Solar Ready Vets published on the U.S. Energy Department website include:

What is the cost of participating in the Solar Ready Vets?

  • Training for the four to six week program is established by the participating Solar Ready Vets’ educational partner – usually an accredited community college. Transitioning service members may utilize their GI bill benefits to cover tuition and materials.
  • Solar Ready Vets includes OSHA safety certification, hands-on experience with PV equipment, and job interviews with national solar companies. The program delivers a premium training experience for a modest fee, with direct access to future employment.

What can participating military personnel expect to learn in this solar jobs training program?

  • Military personnel participating in the Solar Ready Vets program learn how to size and install solar energy systems, connect electricity to the grid, and interpret and comply with local building and electrical codes. Trainees participate in an intensive four to six week training course and use up-to-date PV equipment. They receive instruction from master trainers or skilled, accredited PV instructors approved through Solar Ready Vets. All trainees sit for the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) PV Entry Level Exam, which is an industry-accepted certification. This training program prepares transitioning military service members to be strong candidates for positions in management, PV installation, and sales, as well as technical positions.

Are participating solar companies required to hire the training program graduates?

  • No, participating companies are not required to hire training program graduates. Leading employers in the solar industry, including Solar City, Vivint Solar, Sunrun, and others have committed to interview successful graduating military trainees for employment, a step that will help place qualified trainees in the high-paying jobs for which they received training.