Thanking Our Veterans With Sustainable Jobs
Giving back to those who gave so much is the least our country can do for its veterans. Coming home from deployment with the hope of obtaining a secure job is a major concern, and thankfully, Florida is quickly becoming a leader in employing these heroes in the renewable energy industry. Approximately 15% of new hires in the state’s clean energy sector come from people with military backgrounds.
Veteran Steve Rutherford, a former Navy SEAL, owns a solar company in Tampa. He recently wrote an article for the Orlando Sentinel about job security for veterans, discussing the benefits of renewable energy. He mentioned three main points:
I: After witnessing the costs associated with fossil fuels in terms of dollars and lives lost, protecting these interests during war is overwhelming. Divesting from oil would help reduce those losses and ease the transition to clean energy.
II: The advancement of an energy-streamlined military is necessary. Citing the 40-kilowatt solar arrays he helped construct in Afghanistan, and energy efficiency measures already being implemented at the Eglin Air Force Base, he argues that these initiatives show a long-term commitment towards clean energy goals. Training military men and women for life after the armed forces allows them to acquire the skills they’ll need in the future.
III: Job stability and high pay are benefits that lure veterans into the industry.
Rutherford advocates that all states should implement renewable portfolio standards, which require increased energy production from sources other than fossil fuels, including wind, solar, and geothermal power. Clean energy occupations in Florida account for approximately 1.5% of the state’s total jobs, but could increase if the state takes advantage of its ample sunshine and larger population.
Rutherford is eager to see Florida allow third-party solar sales. Though his company can sell solar systems to individual customers, it cannot also sell the electricity they produce. He states, “Leaders could implement a tax exemption for commercial solar-energy systems and a personal property-tax exemption for leased solar systems. This would avoid the kind of burdensome regulations and red tape that holds up even the simplest, most-straightforward solar installations.”
It’s admirable that when our servicemen and women return, they are either starting their own businesses or employing fellow members of the military. We are very fortunate to have several veterans working for our companies, and we appreciate their leadership and values.
From all of us here at YourEnergyBlog and Energy Curtailment Specialists, we thank our veterans for their service and wish them a safe and relaxing Veterans Day.
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