×

More solar training for service members, DOE announces

565978083
Raphye Alexius | Blend Images | Getty Images

Five more military bases are to join Solar Ready Vets, a training initiative that will prepare service members leaving active duty for "careers in the solar industry", the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced.

In addition, the DOE said that it was awarding $10 million in funding to ten new solar projects via its Solar Training and Education for Professionals program.

"Jobs in the dynamic solar energy sector have grown more than 20 percent per year for the past several years," Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, deputy secretary, said in a statement.

Solar Ready Vets offers training to members of the military, giving them skills to install and connect solar energy systems to the grid. The program is enabled by the Department of Defense's SkillBridge initiative.

The new "training locations" will be Eglin Air Force Base, Fort Bragg, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, Joint Base San Antonio, and Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

"At DOE, we are committed to training the solar workforce of the future through our partnership with the Department of Defense, the solar industry, and community colleges around the country," Sherwood-Randall added.

Solar is enjoying something of a renaissance in the U.S., and the President has set a goal of training up 75,000 solar workers by 2020. The industry there installed 7,286 megawatts of solar power in 2015, according to recent data from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association.

The figures represented an increase of over 1,000 megawatts of solar photovoltaic installations compared to 2014. Photovoltaic technology is able to directly convert sunlight into electrical energy.

According to the data, solar beat natural gas capacity additions for the first time ever, with 29.5 percent of all new electric generating capacity met by solar power in 2015.

In March, analysis released by nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), showed that the clean energy industry in the U.S. employed over 2.5 million people.