This blog post was originally published by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) as a part of the Raising Veteran Voices in Solar campaign.
This Veterans Day, the solar industry is doubling down on its commitment to hire and uplift veterans and former service members. More than 19,000 veterans are working in the solar industry throughout the United States, or 7.8% of all U.S. solar workers. We’re proud that the solar industry is hiring veterans at a higher percentage than the overall economy, but we still can do so much more to welcome and train former service members.
Military experience translates well to a wide range of careers in solar, like management, engineering, sales, information technology and the team-like environment required in just about every work environment. As we enter the 2020s and see historic solar job growth during the Solar+ Decade, we must be intentional about making those job opportunities available to our nation’s veterans.
There are a few ways we can do that.
Earlier this year, Senator Tammy Duckworth introduced the Energy Jobs for our Heroes Act, bipartisan legislation that would establish a program to prepare veterans for careers in the energy industry, including solar. Just this month, Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) introduced a companion bill in the House, and there was already a hearing on the Act.
In addition to legislative efforts, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) announced today (LINK) that it is partnering with The Solar Foundation on a pair of workforce development initiatives to connect transitioning military service members and veterans with career training, professional development and employment opportunities in the solar industry.
The goal of these U.S. Department of Energy-funded training and career pathway programs is to expand and strengthen a nationwide pipeline of talented job candidates with military experience into advanced roles at solar companies across the United States. Through direct placement and on-the-job training, these programs go a step further to help transitioning military service members to gain new insights into the industry and utilize their current skills to start a career in the solar industry.
But there is one thing that underpins all of these efforts: the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC).
The ITC is a job creation powerhouse that helps us create new opportunities for veterans. Since its implementation in 2006, it has helped to create more than 200,000 jobs and projections show that an ITC extension through 2030 would create 113,000 additional jobs. Based on current proportions, an ITC extension would create 9,000 new jobs for veterans—that’s on top of the hundreds of thousands of jobs we will create in the Solar+ Decade.
The ITC steps down this year and it’s a glaring opportunity to both act on climate and support Americans that have already done their part to keep our country safe. The benefits of an ITC extension would create permeate across our economy while also helping to strengthen our energy independence and offset a significant amount of carbon emissions.
Today, let’s thank our brave service members, but also remember that we can take action today to directly benefit their lives. We should be doing everything we can to support policies that help veterans and their families.
Extending the solar ITC is a proven way to do just that.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is the national trade association for the U.S. solar industry. Learn more about SEIA’s efforts to extend the solar Investment Tax Credit: www.seia.org/defendtheitc.