Veterans need jobs. They’re not scared of getting on roofs. Roofs need solar power systems. I think you know where I’m headed….

The good news is that a commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing leader is connecting with a leading veterans organization, Empowering American, in order to get more veterans installing solar power systems on roofs across the US… for energy independence nonetheless. Here’s a full press release about the new partnership:

San Diego, CA (PRWEB) — Commercial PACE provider FIGTREE Energy Financing is teaming up with Empower America – a national non-profit that hires U.S. service veterans to construct domestic solar energy projects — to shed light on Empower America’s work providing hands-on, boots-on-the-roof training and job placement for service veterans looking to re-enter the American civilian workforce.

“Our focus is creating American jobs for American veterans using American-made products to drive American energy independence,” said Empower America President and CEO Mario Pabon. “FIGTREE’s role in providing PACE financing to help contractors and property owners jump-start commercial solar and energy efficiency projects falls right in line with our objectives.”

PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) is a municipal economic development tool that qualifies commercial property owners for 100% up-front financing for money-saving energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation improvements based strictly on assessed property values. FIGTREE finances improvements on commercial, industrial and multi-family properties from as little $5,000 into the millions of dollars.

Empower America’s primary mission is to create workforce and economic development opportunities by developing renewable-energy projects for governments and businesses while recruiting, training and employing local service veterans to build those projects.

“We’re eager to leverage FIGTREE’s relationships with utilities, property owners and contractors throughout California to inform them about Empower America’s new Energy Independence Programs — and the availability of trained, qualified Empower America service veterans to support solar installations in their jurisdictions,” Pabon said.

FIGTREE joins the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Solar World, the American Legion and a growing number of pro-veteran California cities in supporting Empower America’s effort.

Solar is an $11.5 billion industry representing America’s fastest-growing energy source, according to a report issued by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research. The market grew a whopping 34% in 2012, and that doesn’t account for the tax incentives, cash rebates and in some instances hiring credits earned by these transactions.

It’s a market rife with PACE potential. “With plummeting hardware costs, a treasure trove of cash and tax incentives and the ability to help property owners improve their assets as they slash operating costs, the solar industry’s value proposition is proving increasingly desirable to commercial property owners. And it’s a powerful job-creator for the cities in which they operate,” said FIGTREE CEO Mahesh Shah.

FIGTREE’s ability to bring a new means of financing to property owners creates fertile ground for commercial solar and energy efficiency project development throughout California. “FIGTREE’s unique no-money-down, potentially off-balance sheet financing puts the benefits of solar within reach of most commercial property owners,” Shah said. “It would be gratifying to see Empower America and the veterans they serve benefit from the job-creating aspects of our program. We are honored to support this initiative.”

According to a November 2012 report issued by The Solar Foundation, solar employment is expected to grow by 17.2 percent this year, representing the addition of approximately 20,000 new solar workers. The lion’s share of solar jobs by subsector is in the installation area. It is these jobs that Empower America would like to see American service veterans win.

Yet according to Department of Labor statistics, unemployment rates for new veterans aged 18-24 averaged 20.4% in 2012, more than five percentage points higher than non-veterans of the same age range. While the unemployment numbers for veterans between 45 to 54 are substantially lower than their younger brothers and sisters in arms, they’re still higher than their peers in the civilian workforce. A report issued by the Center for a New American Security noted that one of the main barriers to hiring veterans is that businesses struggle to understand how military skills translate to increasing their bottom line.

“Too often we see American veterans who’ve courageously served overseas be forgotten upon returning home,” said Rod Clifton of American Legion’s Post 291, whose San Leon, Texas chapter recently reached out to Empower America to determine how they may be able to help amplify the reach of its mission. “We want prospective employers to experience what Empower America and we at the American Legion already know: that the technical, leadership and entrepreneurial skills veterans of any age offer can prove powerful assets to most any team,” said Clifton.

“America’s service veterans are motivated for the transition from the battlefield to construction sites across the USA,” said Pabon. “Empower America is poised to help veterans transition from boots-on-the-ground to boots-on-the-roof – installing solar solutions that help drive a thriving, energy-independent America.”

“Our aim,” Pabon continued, “is to inspire citizens and businesses to consider the discipline, qualifications and can-do attitude of American service veterans in driving energy-independent solutions for our nation not just Memorial Day…or Independence Day…or Veterans Day; but every day.”

ABOUT EMPOWER AMERICA: Empower America Coalition is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to local economic and workforce development within the renewable energy industry. Through our public and private partners, we originate and develop renewable energy projects for local government and businesses. As a complete solution to the industry, we recruit, train and employ local service veterans into the projects we develop.

ABOUT FIGTREE PACE: FIGTREE is a full-service, San Diego-based clean energy finance company providing breakthrough, 100% up-front off balance sheet PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing to help commercial and residential property owners improve their properties and realize the money-saving benefits of energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation upgrades with no money down. FIGTREE helps cities and counties create jobs, spur economic development and meet their AB 32 goals utilizing no public monies. FIGTREE is the first company in California to successfully raise private capital for commercial PACE projects via a multi-jurisdictional bond issue.