I am subedar S Jeyakumar, a retired Veteran, who had served the country for 26 years,
I was at a crossroads in my life. Although I had left the Corps of Signals voluntarily on
31 December 2019, I was uncertain about what my future held. However, in August
2022, I received a sponsorship from the Army Welfare Placement Organization (AWPO)
that opened up a new door of opportunities for me.
I was excited to embark on a second career with FIRST SOLAR, a US-based
multinational corporation that specialized in manufacturing photovoltaic solar panels.
The prospect of working in a cutting-edge industry that promoted sustainable living was
exhilarating, and I was determined to make the most of this opportunity at a very
handsome CTC of Rs 9,00,144/-.
After undergoing several rounds of interviews, I was selected to be an equipment
coordinator and was sent to FIRST SOLAR's plant PGT3 in Perrysburg, Ohio, USA, for
a three-month tech seeding training. The idea of working with advanced technology in a
state-of-the-art facility was incredibly appealing, and I was eager to learn as much as I
could during my time there.
I vividly remember my arrival in Perrysburg, Ohio, on Nov 25, 2022. The crisp autumn
air, the smell of fallen leaves, and the warm welcome from my colleagues made me feel
at home. My boarding and lodging was fully taken care by the company, with a very
comfortable stay. As a retired veteran, I was used to being part of a team that worked
towards a common goal, and I was glad to observe that the working atmosphere at my
new place of employment was filled with the same mindset with several verticals
functioning together in synergy.
The three months of technical instruction were intense, but they were also incredibly
rewarding. I had a convenient and comfortable daily schedule that allowed me to focus
on studying during the tech seed training. I was exposed to conversations with US
accents, which helped me improve my language skills significantly. Additionally, I
learned how to operate advanced test equipment, troubleshoot problems, and work
efficiently in a team environment.
The sense of accomplishment I felt after completing each goal as per the checklist was
the most thrilling aspect of my experience. Every task I did made me feel proud and
content, whether it was calibrating a piece of equipment or thermal coating and vapour
thin layer deposition on a glass substrate that makes a solar panel. Although it was very
different from my time in the military, I discovered a new mission and purpose to serve.
The job at FIRST SOLAR provides me with a comfortable living, but it's more than just a
source of income. It's a way for me to contribute to society and make a positive impact
on the environment. The panels that I help manufacture will undoubtedly brighten many
homes and reduce the carbon footprint of households and businesses alike.
In conclusion, my experience at FIRST SOLAR has been nothing short of fantastic. As a
retired veteran, I am extremely fortunate to have been given this opportunity by
AWPO,RO,Chennai. The training was rigorous, but it prepared me for the challenges
that lay ahead. I am grateful to AWPO and FIRST SOLAR for providing me with this
opportunity and also sending me to the USA for 4 months which involved an
expenditure of almost 10 Lakhs for the company. I am really very excited about what the