Job Growth in Solar and Renewable Energy in Double Digits

Looking for a job? Have you considered a job in renewable energy like solar?

Over the last decade, renewable energy has become one of the fastest growing industries. As solar panels become cheaper and tax incentives remain, more homeowners and businesses have been able to take advantage of the lower costs. From manufacturing to installation and everything in between, big names like General Electric are rapidly expanding to build renewable energy infrastructure and keep up demand. The best news is, of course, that it’s providing clean energy jobs for U.S. workers.

But how much is it really growing? Globally, there are over 11 million people that work in the solar industry globally, according to Statista. That’s up from roughly 2.3 million in 2014. according to the 2014 International Renewable Energy Agency Renewable Energy and Jobs-Annual Review. In the U.S., around 80,000 clean energy jobs were created in 2013, and over 36,000 more were added in 2014. And job growth is expected to job even higher, with an anticipated 24 percent jump from 2012 to 2022 — much faster than the average of other jobs.

While NASDAQ reports that Hawaii, Texas, and California have the largest number of renewable energy projects, the Northeast is quickly catching up. This year, New York took over as the number one leader in solar energy policies, and the rest of the area is right behind them. That shift only means more job creation.

Between all the major solar companies (for example, SolarCity and SunPower), there’s a high demand for medium-skilled workers who can install solar rooftops. One impediment is for workers is the rise of another technology – applicant tracking software, that affects who’s resume gets seen and how.

Plus, many of the major solar companies that may have just dealt with installation in the past are getting into manufacturing. The same goes for major utility companies like GE. That definitely wasn’t happening a decade ago, but it’s certainly in full swing now. This is manifesting in increased demand for engineers, specifically with their FE and PE designations.

Bottom line: as costs fall, more people buy solar, leading to more jobs — and we’re only at the beginning of what could be a very long-term trend.

Are you working in solar? Tell us what you’ve noticed in terms of job growth in the comments!

  • by Nadia Osman
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  • December 20, 2014