Clean Technica took note on Thursday of new developments in the growing partnership between Solar Energy International (SEI) and the United States military. The former is an educational organization, founded in 1991, that offers training in solar power jobs as well as other renewable industries. They just recently passed the 30,000 alumni mark.
Now SEI is establishing a new scholarship program for both current and former military personnel who are interested in both expanding the military’s solar technology and entering the solar industry after they leave the force:
SEI’s scholarship offer extends to both active duty and military veterans. It consists of a full ride on the organization’s PV101 Online course, which is the first in its Solar Professionals Certificate Program.
The PV101 course can also lead to a train-the-trainers path for active duty military trainers and program managers, which SEI describes as the “deepest level of training in the industry.” That program is available to active duty military trainers who are involved in introducing solar technology to their facilities.
Between vehicles and power generation, the military is the single biggest consumer of oil on the planet, meaning it has an immediate strategic interest in getting off fossil fuels. The stuff is heavy and costly to transport, reliance on it leaves bases — either established or on the front lines — vulnerable and dependent on outside forces, the supply lines to move it are vulnerable to attack, ands carrying it around isn’t exactly easy for individual soldiers either.
As a result, the 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.