Grid Alternatives, America’s largest non-profit solar installer, today announced a major grant from Wells Fargo to support a national solar training initiative for America’s military veterans. The Troops to Solar initiative will provide solar industry workforce training to over 1,000 U.S. military veterans and active service members across the country. The three-year, $750,000 grant was announced at a four-home solar installation project for wounded San Diego veterans living in Habitat for Humanity homes.
Under the initiative, Grid Alternatives will provide training and hands-on solar installation experience to veterans and service members, and will work with its solar industry partners to connect participants with job openings. The national partnership expands Grid Alternatives’ existing work with veterans at several of its California locations.
With this new grant, Wells Fargo will have invested over $3.8 million since 2007 in GRID Alternatives’ work to install solar systems for low-income families and provide solar industry workforce development in disadvantaged communities.
Troops to Solar is part of a larger national effort by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) to employ 50,000 veterans in the solar industry by 2020. America’s solar industry already employs more veterans than the average US business, and provides economic empowerment through good wages ($20-$24 per hour) in high-growth jobs, many of which do not require advanced degrees.
Grid Alternatives will provide solar installation trainings for military and veterans groups, “Vets helping Vets” events to provide solar systems for low-income veterans, an online resume bank connecting trainees with industry job openings, and solar job fairs.
Troops to Solar also includes a new Native American Veterans Initiative to install solar with veteran job trainees in extremely high-need communities in the Navajo Nation and other tribal reservations. According to the US Veterans Administration, Native Americans serve in the military at a higher per-capita rate than any other ethnic group but suffer from higher rates of unemployment, poverty, and lack of access to health insurance.
Grid Alternatives is America’s largest non-profit solar installer bringing clean energy technology and job training to low-income families and underserved communities through a network of community partners, volunteers, and philanthropic supporters. Grid has installed nearly 6000 rooftop solar systems with a combined installed capacity of over 20MW, saving $155 million in lifetime electricity costs, preventing 450,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, and providing over 22,000 people with solar training. Grid has eleven regional offices and affiliates serving California, Colorado, the Mid-Atlantic, the New York tri-state area, Tribal communities nationwide, and Nicaragua.