President Obama announced a new US solar job training program on April 3 says Think Progress. The program goal is to add 75,000 new jobs in the solar industry by 2020. It will concentrate on training veterans for those positions through a cooperative effort between the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense that will take place at 10 military installations around the country.
The White House says the Solar Ready Vets program is “based on the specific needs of high-growth solar employers, is tailored to build on the technician skills that veterans have acquired through their service, and incorporates work-based learning strategies.” It will train service members in all facets of solar installation, teaching them how to size solar panels, connect electricity to the grid, and deal with building codes
The VA will support the Solar Ready Vets program by encouraging state agencies to make G.I. Bill funding available to veterans interested in the program. The Department of Labor will also work to make sure that veterans are aware of job opportunities within the solar industry.
According to the White House, the solar industry is adding jobs “10 times faster” than the rest of the economy, thanks in part to prices for solar systems continuing to drop. Prices declined almost 12% in 2014 alone.
The new initiative comes just days after the US submitted its greenhouse gas reduction commitments to the United Nations in advance of the next global climate summit in Paris in December. The US says it plans to reduce its emissions by 28% by the year 2025. That may sound like a big drop to some, but the United Kingdom managed an 8% drop in 2014, due largely to an increase in electricity from renewable sources and a decline in demand for electric power overall.
According to Reuters, a report released recently the NewClimate Institute says the United States, China, and the European Union will create nearly one million “green jobs” by 2030 if they meet their stated carbon reduction goals.