The solar industry is one of the fasting growing fields in the jobs market today. According to a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency, solar jobs grew 17 times faster than the total US economy last year. Over 260,000 people now work in the solar industry, which has increased over 20% from a few years ago. One reason the solar business has expanded so much is because of the decreased costs associated with solar energy and with tax credits issued by the government. Those two reasons alone make it much more affordable for homeowners and businesses alike to use solar energy.
Bryan Birsic, CEO of Wunder Capital has stated, “it seems to be one of the few areas of high- paying, blue-collar jobs and you don't have to learn to code.” Birsic is the CEO for the financial tech company that allows investors to help with financing solar panel installations.
The solar industry is labor-intensive and it is better for the environment. Birsic of Wunder Capital believes this is because solar energy in the form of sunlight is available in many environments naturally, unlike fossil fuels’ limited availability. That allows for even more costs to be put towards paying workers to install, make and sell solar panels.
The prices attached to solar panel sales, installations, manufacturing, etc. have also drastically come down. According to Birsic, solar energy was 50% more expensive just five years ago. "It's showing no signs of stopping," he said.
Americans are also looking for clean energy alternatives, due in part to raised awareness of climate change. Most solar workers are employed in the installation business, the IREA report showed. Other leading solar jobs include sales, project development, manufacturing, as well as research-and-development.
While men are holding most of the solar industry jobs, women now hold 28% of solar jobs. Those numbers are up from 19% in 2013, IREA has said. Women are also starting to hold more sales positions in the solar industry. Women make up just less than half of the US workforce.
Solar scored a big victory in December 2015 when Congress decided to extend renewable tax credits that were set to expire.
The IREA has predicted that employment in the renewable energy employment will triple by 2030 to up to 24 million jobs worldwide.
Locally, Renova Solar has experienced solid growth in revenue and jobs, with more than 150 local residents now employed with the company in a variety of positions including installation, engineering, sales, project management as well as support team members in accounting, HR, marketing and more.