In the United States, there is a Department of Energy ( DOE ) program designed to help transition soldiers to civilian life with new careers as solar energy installers. Installations of Solar PV systems in the U.S. are expected to continue to grow even faster now that the renewable energy tax credit has been extended.
The DOE partnered with Solar City, SunRun, Vivint Solar, SunEdison, and SunPower to interview and potentially hire these veterans after leaving the service. In 2015, they selected Solar Energy International (SEI) to pilot an intensive solar workforce training program calledn “Reach for the Sun” to provide transitioning military personnel the highest quality professional skills to prepare them for a potential employment in the solar industry upon discharge.
Solar Energy International offers many paid solar energy courses but not so many free ones. There is one introductory course offered about renewable energy that is a good basic introduction. We will feature it here for you in the days to come.
The first round of training at Camp Pendleton kicked off on January 20th, 2015. Twenty transitioning Marines were selected to be the first cohort of trainees. This four week intensive training, was taught by SEI instructors, Kelly Larson, Kyle Bolger, Gary Handlin, Jay Peltz, JR Whitley, Joe Villacci and Ken Gardner.
The curriculum included our SEI’s PV101 course to establish the foundation, a version of our grid-tied lab week, a focus on the NEC and design, troubleshooting and O&M, and battery-based PV system design.
At the end of the training, each participant took the NABCEP Entry Level Exam and was given the opportunity to be interviewed (and hopefully hired) by the companies.