EXPANDING THE TROOPS TO SOLAR INITIATIVE

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Thanks to a grant from Wells Fargo, Grid Alternatives announced it is expanding the troops to solar initiative

Originally Published on PVSolar Report

By Amy Forman

November 20, 2015 (San Diego's East County) - GRID Alternatives announced the expansion of their services to veterans with the Troops to Solar initiative.

Troops To Solar Initiative

The program will provide solar industry workforce training to over 1,000 veterans and active duty service members across the country.

Troops to Solar is a part of SEIA‘s national effort to employ 50,000 veterans in the solar industry by 2020. The solar industry already employs more veterans than the average U.S. business sector, providing good wages in jobs that often do not require advanced degrees.

Solar companies hire veterans because they come trained, ready, and passionate. The solar industry is filled with people who are passionate about the job and who work together to help people, the environment, and national security,” said Nat Kreamer, an Afghan war veteran and Chairman of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “Solar, like the military, is not just about the paycheck; it’s also about working for something larger than oneself. Veterans working in solar get to serve our nation twice.”

Wells Fargo Grants

The three year, $750,000 grant from Wells Fargo was announced this morning at a four home solar installation for wounded veterans in San Diego living in Habitat for Humanity homes.

The initiative provides GRID Alternatives the resources to provide solar training and hands on experience to military and veterans groups. Vets helping Vets events will provide solar systems for low-income veterans, as well as an online resume bank which can connect trainees with industry job openings and solar job fairs.

Volunteers from Beale Air Force Base in Yuba City in 2014

Solar is a high-growth career that speaks to so many of the skills our Veterans bring — leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, innovation,” said Anna Bautista, Vice President for Construction and Workforce Development at GRID Alternatives. “Together we can build a stronger clean energy future for our country.”

This is not the first investment Wells Fargo has made to GRID Alternatives. Including the Troops to Solar grant, the bank has donated over $3.8 million to support GRID Alternatives and their work to install solar for low-income families while providing solar industry workforce development to underserved communities.

Solar for veterans

“GRID Alternatives has been instrumental in our efforts to provide environmental solutions to diverse communities across the country,” said Mary Wenzel, head of environmental affairs for Wells Fargo. “GRID’s new workforce development initiative is perfectly aligned with Wells Fargo’s ongoing commitment to veterans and goal to advance environmental sustainability. We are excited about our continued partnership.”

Troops to Solar also includes a new Native American Veterans Initiative. This program will allow veterans the opportunity to install solar on the homes of Native American veterans in extremely high need communities. According to the U.S. Veterans Association, Native Americans serve in the military at a higher per capita rate than any other ethnic group in the country.

Top Photo Credit: US Coast Guard installing solar with GRID in San Luis Obispo in 2014