The 2012 third annual National Solar Jobs Census reported that U.S. solar industry employed close to 120,000 people. In the last year, the employment in the industry grew by 13.2%. By 2030, according to the DOE SunShot Vision Study, the solar industry will create 290,000 new solar jobs.
“I see electricians going into the solar market, structural steel companies going into constructing solar mounting systems,” said Avi Yashchin, CEO of CleanEdison, Inc., the nation’s largest clean-tech training provider, in an interview with Bloomberg.
To support this growth, the industry will need skilled professionals. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) created a Solar Career Map to help individual’s locate career opportunities in their area.
Professional Training and Certification
There are three major types of solar workforce training and education currently offered in the U.S.:
Entry-level Solar Training- the most prevalent type of training is offered by hundreds of organizations from colleges to vocational schools. Many of them are registered with North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) and use its Entry-Level Learning Objectives.
Advanced Solar Training – targeted to specific jobs, for example installers, or sales professionals, or maintenance personnel. Typically, these people already work in the field and want career advancement.
Continuing Education - for on-going professional development to stay up-to-date with new equipment, installation or sales tools, codes and standards. A lot of this type of classes are sponsored by vendors and manufacturers.Even professionals who are very experienced in other areas of building industry, but not in solar, will benefit from training. The cost of mistakes is high.