Career Trends in Solar EnergyDecember 3, 2019
By Loren Henry, Broker
Worldwide Facilities – San Diego, CA
By 2020, experts predict that the global solar industry will take a massive leap, reaching the $422 billion mark. Here in the U.S., the continuous demand for alternative energy as a source of power is creating a growing need for qualified professionals such as renewable energy engineers, solar photovoltaic (PV) system installers, technicians and other specialists.
Energy Jobs at Home
According to the Solar Energy Industry Association, the first quarter of 2019 saw the solar market reach 67 gigawatts of total installed capacity, a number that is expected to double by 2024 with more than 15 gigawatts of PV capacity installed annually. This has created an increasing demand for solar PV installers to assemble and maintain solar panel systems — a career for which training is often undertaken while on the job. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that employment opportunities for PV careers are expected to grow much faster than other solar industry jobs, with a 63% growth rate between now and 2028.
Other areas of job growth include a need for more mechanical, chemical, industrial and electrical engineers. According to the University of California Riverside, the median nationwide salary for energy engineers is a little over $70,000 annually and includes a variety of job tasks such as consulting, research and solar systems design.
Energy Jobs Abroad
Professionals who are looking for employment overseas will find plenty of opportunities, especially in China and Japan. In these countries, solar engineers and installers are in demand as they increase their reliance on alternative energy solutions due to land scarcity. This has increased the use of massive floating solar plants that utilize many hydroelectric dams on lakes and reservoirs. As of March 2019, China and Japan are home to the world’s seven largest floating solar plants. The biggest is located in the Chinese city of Huainan and has the capacity to power 21,000 homes.
It’s important to note that when entering the foreign solar energy industry workforce, U.S. residents must abide by certain work visa and residency requirements, which will vary by country. Japan has recently updated its work visa requirements in an effort to recruit more foreign workers. Applicants with in-demand skills such as solar energy installation, engineering or design can apply for one of Japan’s new work visas. However, job-seekers must be sponsored by a local company and be proficient in the Japanese language.
Career opportunities in the solar energy industry, in the U.S. and abroad, has contributed to a high demand for experienced professionals that will continue to grow as the demand for alternative energy expands. At Worldwide Facilities, we’re renewable energy industry experts. To learn more about how we can help you advise your renewable energy clients, contact Loren Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619-541-4265.