Operation Free veteran Andrea Marr and partner organization Solar Ready Vets are featured in an article about veterans working in clean energy.
In 2009, the Truman National Security Project, a nonprofit organization that fosters a community of veterans, recognized a growing influx of veterans into the clean energy sector, launched Operation Free, its first and largest advocacy campaign partnering with vets to educate policymakers and push for legislation supporting clean energy.
It was an Operation Free post on Facebook, showing soldiers with solar-powered backpacks, that caught Marr’s attention when she returned from service. The coin dropped and she realized this was the work she wanted to do. Marr now speaks in Operation Free educational campaigns and supports clean energy legislation like California’s SB350, which includes a provision to cut petroleum usage by 50% in 15 years.
In addition to the White House’s Joining Forces initiative, which secured a commitment from the Solar Energy Industries Association to hire 50,000 vets by 2020, the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Energy have partnered on a program called Solar Ready Vets. Launched in April 2015, the program was created from President Obama’s SunShot Initiative, which seeks to make solar energy more accessible to people, and puts military service members who are about to end their service through six to eight weeks of solar energy education, both in and out of the classroom. So far, 300 veterans have graduated from the 10 bases that work with Solar Ready Vets, with the goal to be 2,500 in the upcoming years.