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Project Name: Cyberguardians and STEM Warriors
Funding Opportunity: Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2018 Funding Program (SETO FY2018)
SETO Subprogram: Soft Costs
Location: San Jose, CA
DOE Award Amount: $1.25 million
Awardee Cost Share: N/A
Planned Timeline: 2019-2022

-- Award and cost share amounts are subject to change pending negotiations --

This project will create an accredited online training program in digital distributed energy resource (DER) technologies for military veterans and young people. The participants will obtain skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), as well as networking, operational software, advanced inverters, advanced PV modules, and cybersecurity. SunSpec Alliance, the information standards and certification organization for the DER industry, will partner with Kitu Systems, a software company that develops energy-related communication systems; the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners® (NABCEP®); and the University of San Diego (UCSD) Extension program, which is helping develop the curriculum.


The project will leverage the experience and contributions of DER and cybersecurity experts, accreditation and educational organizations, and groups serving U.S. veterans to meet its goals. The team will build outreach with veterans organizations and communicate the program benefits and encourage enrollment through media and online channels. They will start a systematic initiative to get solar companies to add job postings to a new SunSpec-based job board, connect graduates with job opportunities, encourage interviews, and track job placement results. Finally, the team will conduct a holistic and ongoing review of data related to evolving solar job needs, qualifications, and program results to shape and improve the Cyberguardians and STEM Warriors program.


SunSpec specifications are inherent in the communication protocol standards that govern the interconnection of DER systems on the U.S. grid. This enables SunSpec to contribute to curriculum development and provide a window into the proficiency levels needed for various solar industry jobs. The project team will ensure viable workforce training and vocational accreditation through NABCEP. Aligning with the UCSD will ensure the program earns university academic credit and is in good standing with power engineering and related coursework.

The SunSpec Alliance Cyberguardians and STEM Warriors illustration
The SunSpec Alliance Cyberguardians and STEM Warriors project will take participants from curriculum enrollment through completion, then help them get hired. Graphic courtesy of SunSpec Alliance.