There’s no question about it — green jobs are on the rise, and the trend isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon.
But what constitutes a green job? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, green jobs “produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.” This includes businesses that deal with renewable energy, provide pollution cleanup services, work to conserve natural resources, and improve energy efficiency.
Some examples of green jobs include working as a solar panel installer, recycling plant worker, organic farmer, and conservation researcher. While all of these green jobs are important, occupations within the solar technology industry are growing exponentially.
Solar Panels Growing in Popularity
The popularity of both residential and commercial solar panel installation has grown steadily in recent years. There are several reasons why home and business owners are moving toward solar energy, including:
Rising Energy Costs
High energy costs are prompting many customers to search for alternative energy solutions. Studies show that from 2001 to 2014, the cost of electricity in Colorado rose by 67 percent, and experts expect the number to rise another 3 percent by the end of the year. Add to this the rising costs of oil, coal and gas, and it’s easy to see why so many people are ready to make the switch to solar.
Studies show that the generation of electricity generated by fossil fuels is responsible for 29 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions into the air. These emissions are accumulating within the Earth’s atmosphere and trapping excessive heat from the Sun, which in turn heats up the Earth. Many scientists agree that these unnecessary emissions are part of the cause for climate change.
Growing Health Benefits
Alternative energy doesn’t just benefit the environment; it also provides multiple health benefits. For example, solar energy doesn’t emit dangerous particles such as nitrous oxide and sulfur dioxide, while fossil fuels do. Breathing in these particles can increase a person’s risk of respiratory problems. Solar energy also doesn’t produce any type or air or water pollution unlike some other energy types, such as natural gas, do.
Reduced Solar Panel Installation Costs
Another major factor in the increased popularity of solar energy is the reduced cost associated with solar panel installation. Reports indicate that solar energy installation costs are down more than 60 percent from just a decade ago. In addition, low-interest loan options, rebates, and tax credits have enticed many homeowners and businesses to make the switch.
Solar Panels and the Green Jobs
This major increase in the installation of commercial and residential solar systems has helped spur the economy. Proof of this economic boost is the new solar panel manufacturing plant set to open in South Buffalo, New York within the year. This plant, when at full capacity, will be able to produce up to 10,000 solar panels per day.
In addition to the need for more solar panels, there is now an increased demand for green jobs within the solar energy industry, especially in the Colorado solar energy sector. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for solar panel installers is expected to grow by as much as 24 percent from now until 2024. As this demand for good workers increases, salaries for all major solar energy green jobs are also expected to rise.
While the number of all solar energy green jobs is also expected to rise in the upcoming years, there are some that are already in high demand. Here is a look at the top five solar energy green jobs available today.
1. Junior installer:
This is an entry-level position that’s ideal for workers who have little to no experience in solar energy. Junior installers are responsible for installing solar panels on rooftops or at ground level under the supervision of the solar installation crew leader.
2. Solar installation crew leader:
This is a supervisory position. The crew leader is responsible for supervising two or more junior installers at the worksite, overseeing the completion of the work onsite, and communicating with the customer when necessary. This role requires previous experience with solar panel installation.
3. Project coordinator:
The project coordinator’s duty is to finalize the sales contract by working directly with homeowners, business managers, developers and contractors. This person must have an in-depth knowledge of solar panel installation as well as the various funding options, tax rebates, and other federal, state and local incentives.
4. Licensed electrician:
A valid state-issued electrician license is required for this job. The electrician is responsible for all electrical components of the solar panel installation and maintenance.
5. Sales advocate:
A sales advocate is responsible for educating the residential and commercial community about the various benefits of solar energy. This requires going door-to-door in an effort to entice home and business owners to arrange a free solar energy consultation.
If a career in solar energy sounds like a good option for you, then you’ll be excited to learn that EcoMark Solar is now hiring. We have openings in all five of these major solar energy green job areas, and we are excited to talk to you about your future with our company. To learn more about solar energy and how you can start a green job career today, contact us now.