Published on February 15th, 2015 | by Tina Casey28
120 Solar Jobs For Veterans Vs. 35 Keystone XL Pipeline Jobs
February 15th, 2015 by Tina Casey
Five leading US companies have up to 120 solar jobs waiting for veterans under a pilot program aimed at transitioning members of the US military into the solar industry. The first-of-its-kind program just graduated its first class at Camp Pendleton, putting it on track to reach its goal of 200.
The new pilot program is based on the Energy Department’s Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN), which has already trained more that 30,000 students for solar jobs through their local community college.
So… what about the prospects for actually getting a solar job?
Solar Jobs By The Numbers
The employment prospects certainly look good by the numbers — for veterans and everybody else, too. The US solar industry has been booming over the past couple of years and it will add an estimated 36,000 more jobs in the next 12 months.
The Energy Department has had an eye on solar jobs since 2009, when the Obama Administration amped up SITN to help ensure a steady stream of job-ready trainees for the growing solar industry.
Here’s how this “trickle-down” jobs engine looks on paper:
The timing was perfect. According to the Energy Department, solar industry employment has climbed 86% since 2010. In 2014 alone, solar employment rose 22%.
Looking ahead to 2030, about 290,000 new solar jobs are projected.
If you’re in the mood to stand up and cheer for all this solar activity, you can give a good chunk of the credit to the Obama Administration’s 2011 SunShot initiative.
SunShot aims at making solar energy just as cheap — and reliable — as fossil fuels, and it’s already doing that in some US markets.
Among many other insights, Le dropped this hint about even more job creation related to the two-way power flow enabled by distributed solar power systems:
… With distributed generation we’re seeing two-way power flow and that is the revolution if you will that is brought on by technology not dissimilar to how everyone used to get news in the old days with newspapers or telegraphs, now we’re looking at a paradigm shifting transition.
Solar Jobs For Military Veterans
Also new is a directive issued last fall, which enables active duty military to begin job training before they leave the service. That makes for a more seamless transition for job-seekers, while streamlining the employment-ready pipeline for growing industries.
The five companies that have committed to interviewing the graduates for 120 positions are A-listers SolarCity, Vivint Solar, Sunrun, SunEdison, and SunPower, so it’s a pretty good bet that the commitment will bear fruit.
Support Our Troops!
We were just saying that certain federal legislators are weirdly fixated on the Keystone XL project, despite its modest payout in terms of permanent job creation. Just last week, some of these folks skipped the solar jobs photo op at Camp Pendleton to stage a media event to sign Congress’s new Keystone XL pipeline bill.
So, we’re not looking for any of those folks to suddenly become aware that they could rack up a lot more points this year — like, 36,000 more — by supporting job creation in the solar industry.
But, not to worry. There is still a chance for those folks to show their support for our troops and for new jobs, too, because two more solar training course locations will be revving up at Fort Carson and Naval Station Norfolk in the spring.
Photo Credit, top: Lance Cpl. Asia J. Sorenson (cropped — 20 service members graduate from the Solar Energy Training Program at Camp Pendleton).