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Explosive US Solar Power Growth & Jobs

It’s no secret to those who work in energy that the solar industry is among the fastest-growing power sectors in this country (often the fastest-growing one), as well as worldwide. And many people don’t realize it, but US solar power growth has a hugely positive impact on employment. In 2013 alone, the global solar industry expanded by 100%, amounting to 2.3 million jobs worldwide.

Explosive growth in solar power and demand (refrigerationschool.com)

Oanh Nguyen of The Refrigeration School, a fast-track climate control training program, has posted some very informative stats on US solar power growth, use, and demand on the school’s website. The infographic is up-to-date, clear, and almost startlingly appealing. Here are some highlights in text:

  • 20% US annual growth rate of solar
  • 2.3M solar jobs worldwide
  • 49% overall increase in US installations during 2013

Who’s fueling US solar power growth? Consumers, for sure. In California last year, the number of rooftop installations doubled the number made in the previous three decades. Government, including several federal branches and mainstream private corporations like Walmart, Kohl’s, and Staples, as well as innovators such as Apple and Google, have invested heavily in energy from the sun.

The costs of solar panels and photovoltaics have plummeted by about 50% in the past four years and are headed nowhere but down. The RS map shows California and Arizona as predictable state leaders, but also a couple of eye-openers in terms of solar capacity and growth.

The US solar power growth stats also include a comprehensive and detailed rundown on about 20 different solar career opportunities at several levels of experience. Jobs in the solar industry start at about $27,000 for those with minimal education and less than two years in the field. Basic training involves broad range of knowledge in electrical and mechanical technologies, along with heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration. These career paths are in heaviest demand:

  • Solar Installation Engineer
  • Solar Panel Sales
  • Solar Panel Maintenance
  • Solar Electrician
  • Large-scale Solar Project Designer

We’ve saved the best for last, of course. In addition to 20 other industry, government, and media sources, including energy.gov, the Solar Energy Industries Association, and several large corporations, RS lists CleanTechnica among its information references.

Here’s the full infographic:

solar-energy-growth-careers

 
 
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covers environmental, health, renewable and conventional energy, and climate change news. She's currently on the climate beat for Important Media, having attended last year's COP20 in Lima Peru. Sandy has also worked for groundbreaking environmental consultants and a Fortune 100 health care firm. She writes for several weblogs and attributes her modest success to an "indelible habit of poking around to satisfy my own curiosity."

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