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Outlook for Solar Jobs

Renewed interest in, and the viability of, solar power has recently led to steady expansion. The U.S. solar power industry has experienced double-digit rates of growth since 2000, although it is still a small portion of the total U.S. energy mix. (Source: Energy Information Administration). Projections are that the global market for solar energy represents a multi-trillion dollar opportunity in the U.S. over the next quarter of a century. Additionally, solar energy usage is projected to double by the year 2010. If this projection is correct, the American Solar Energy Society projects that it could create more than 350,000 net new jobs.

Types of Solar Jobs

Solar Installer – This is a very popular place to start your career in the solar energy industry. As the title implies, Solar Installers are responsible for installing the solar power systems. While your education is considered, the most important factors are your certification and experience in wiring, construction, and residential electrical installation.

Solar Field Technician - A field tech oversees the examination and inspection of all solar systems. They also assist with installing, servicing and repairing the solar systems. In most cases, your experience will outweigh your education. Technicians can expect to spend 2-3 years as installers before being promoted.

Solar Power Engineer - An engineer's primary responsibility is the design and development of solar energy systems. They play an important role in almost all aspects of the solar power operation. Educational requirements for these type of positions normally require a degree in either engineering or physics. Remember, engineers are usually required to be licensed and certified.

Solar Power Project Manager - A project manager directs and manages a solar power site. Qualified candidates for this type of role should be experienced and knowledgeable in most, if not all, aspects of solar power operations. Educational requirements normally require an advanced degree, but a bachelor's degree in engineering, physics, or a field of earth science, combined with experience in the industry is often acceptable. Industry specific certifications are also a plus.

Some Prominent Solar Energy Companies 

  • Xunlight Corporation
  • NextEra (FPL Energy) 
  • SunPower Corporation 
  • First Solar 
  • Ascent Solar 
  • BP Solar
  • Suntech Power 
  • Amtech Systems 
  • Evergreen Solar 
  • SolarReserve 
  • Solel 
  • SkyFuel 
  • eSolar 
  • Solarfun

Additional Resources