If you are thinking about a career change this year, the future of the solar can be your shining star. Those having knowledge and experience in any area of solar energy can easily reconstruct their resume and expand their options for employment in this growing field.
We are at the forefront of a booming industry and with the solar energy transition projected to create around 350,000 new jobs by the end of this year, the biggest problem has been finding workers to meet the increasing demand.
Those who do gather the information and experience they need to take advantage of this burgeoning industry will be well-paid and highly regarded. This solar energy revolution could be America’s best hope for the future of our labor force. Let’s take a look at some of the top jobs in the solar energy industry.
1. Urban Planner: Careers in this field are in huge demand. The skill set of urban planners who conduct contingency planning are badly needed in our pursuit to reduce our carbon footprint. Positions in Urban Planning are expected to rise by over 15% over the next 5+ years.
2. Solar Operations Engineer: Engineers in this position are faced with the task of designing new solar systems, then supervising and inspecting the structures during construction, which makes them the architects of the entire facility operation. They are also involved in monitoring and testing the correlation between old and new solar energy facilities.
Photo from Northwest-Shoals Community College
3. Environmental Engineer: This position has some pretty big shoes to fill. The objective of these engineers is to prevent further deterioration of our planet by limiting soil erosion, global warming, acid rain and ozone depletion. The next 7 or so years should show employment opportunities in this field rise by as much as 25%.
4. Solar Lab Technician: Companies are seeking technicians with design, production, installation and testing skills involved with solar-energy technologies. With the increase of homes and commercial buildings investing in solar energy, so increases the need to find skilled professionals with the knowledge to get the job done.
Photo from NY Times
5. Solar Power Installer: This is a relatively high-paying position within the solar energy spectrum of jobs and the opportunities abound. If you have a background in construction, you may want to look into some of these positions to install solar-thermal water heaters and solar panels on rooftops.
6. Wind Turbine Fabricator: Because wind is the leading source of alternate energy, these wind turbines are in higher demand than ever. And because they are garnering considerable financial support and tax rebates, wind farms are appearing everywhere. These jobs offer a great opportunity.
7. Energy Efficiency Builder: Our existing buildings are one of the greatest sources of greenhouse gas emissions, making them energy “guzzlers”. If you’re a skilled engineer, architect or retrofitter, your skills are in high demand to not only convert existing structures but also new buildings that are energy efficient.
8. Sustainability Systems Developer: In order to design, build and maintain the network required to support solar energy sources such as smart energy grids and wind farms, software developers and engineers are in high demand. This is a particularly golden opportunity for those with experience in web 2.0 applications and open source programming.
9. Solar Hot Water Installer: With a surge in the number of homeowners and business owners purchasing solar heating systems, the demand for professionals in this area is escalating with it, in both residential and commercial buildings. As the technological advances in this area escalate, so does the number of people required to fill these positions.