Today, Operation Free and The Solar Foundation released a joint report on veterans working in the American solar industry. The first-of-its-kind report shows that veterans are employed within the solar industry at higher-than-average rates offering career opportunities to a group that has faced extraordinarily high unemployment. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52), White House officials, and veterans working in the solar industry will join Operation Free and The Solar Foundation at a launch event in support of the new report this evening.
The report, Veterans in Solar: Securing America’s Energy Future, highlights the contributions of veterans to the solar industry, using data derived from The Solar Foundation’s annual National Solar Jobs Census 2013. The findings show that America’s solar industry has grown by 500 percent since 2008, providing more than 13,000 veterans with job opportunities as of November 2013. Strikingly, veterans represent nearly ten percent of all solar workers at a time when more than 15 percent of veterans aged 18-24 are currently unemployed. The report also discovered that the growth in the industry is continuing: nearly 62 percent of solar companies that employ veterans plan to add more solar workers within the next 12 months.
Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52), said, “Our servicemen and women have made great sacrifices for our country and it is our responsibility to ensure that when they return home there are high-skill and well-paying jobs available. The solar industry offers our veterans a unique opportunity to use the knowledge they learned serving our country in a rapidly growing sector that is vital to both our national security and economic future.”
“This report highlights the ways solar strengthens the US economy and our national security,” said Nat Kreamer, CEO of Clean Power Finance and a former Intelligence Officer, Special Forces, US Navy. ”Veterans are over represented in the solar industry because we know first-hand that clean, affordable domestic power makes America and the world safer.”
This is the first time that the significant contributions of veterans to the solar industry have been documented. The Solar Foundation and Operation Free intend to amplify these findings in an effort to help more veterans enter into careers in the solar industry.
“We are thrilled to partner with The Solar Foundation on this important report,” said Jaclyn Houser, Advocacy Director of Operation Free. “Through this collaboration, we are finally able to see, with hard numbers, what we have suspected for years: veterans are huge assets to the clean energy economy. They bring unparalleled technical skills and a relentless focus on accomplishing the mission. And they view their work in clean energy as a continuation of their service.”
“Based upon the data from our National Solar Jobs Census 2013, this short report establishes the first and most complete understanding to date of veteran employment in the U.S. solar industry,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director of The Solar Foundation. “Veterans are invaluable contributors to the solar workforce and an essential part of the solar industry’s explosive growth.”
In addition to examining employment numbers, the report (www.vetsinsolar.org) also suggests next steps to expand opportunities for veterans, including the creation of a tool for employers to translate veterans’ skills into language reflecting solar companies’ hiring needs.
Operation Free is a nationwide coalition of veterans and national security experts working to secure America with clean energy. Operation Free is a campaign of the Truman National Security Project and the Center for National Policy.
The Solar Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to increase understanding of solar energy through strategic research that educates the public and transforms markets. The data on veterans in the solar industry derives from The Solar Foundation’s highly-acclaimed National Solar Jobs Census 2013 report.
— Solar Builder magazine