A Sunny Future For Veterans?

Tina Casey applauds a new program that is reducing the military’s carbon footprint while providing job training to servicemembers and veterans:

The nonprofit career education organization Solar Energy International (SEI) has taken note of the surging interest in solar jobs among military veterans, and it has come up with a scholarship plan to help both veterans and active duty military jump-start new careers in the solar industry. The program is further evidence that the creation of a culture of energy awareness in the Defense Department is having a direct impact on service members and their home communities…

The need to create an energy awareness platform for deploying new technology effectively is best demonstrated by the Army’s new “The Power Is In Your Hands” energy awareness initiative, which notes that sustaining a Soldier in today’s battlefield takes more than 20 gallons of fuel per day, compared to two or less in World War II. Private sector companies are already taking note that military veterans can serve as powerful “green ambassadors” for introducing renewable energy technology to civilian communities, particularly in the solar industry, and the Army’s Net Zero program was designed in part to serve as a role model and best practices test bed for its host communities.

Jeff Spross agrees:

The new scholarship is a direct response to an uptick in demand, probably driven by the military’s big ongoing push into renewable power and energy efficiency. … [T]he military is pushing ahead with everything from geothermal projects, to electric vehicles, to solar cells that can be stitched into backpacks, clothing, tents, or that can even be rolled up or unfurled like placemats — thus relieving soldiers of the need to cart around much heavier battery packs.

Given all that, it’s little wonder there are more soldiers and veterans looking to carry those skills and experiences into the private sector.