The U.S. solar energy industry is picking up as more companies begin large and small scale projects, spurred by lower installation costs and more favorable payment options. The growth in the last year runs counter to what some believe - that the industry is spiraling down for good. This, however, does not appear to be the case as government policies and incentives continue to promote sector growth.
According to the Toledo Blade, the solar energy industry currently employs 100,000 Americans in 5,600 companies. In the first three months of 2012, solar energy capacity grew an astounding 85 percent across the country, following similarly impressive gains in 2011. This alone suggests the industry is indeed heating up, but what's more, the average cost of residential solar has fallen from $50,000 to $25,000 in five years.
States with strict energy policies, such as Ohio, are well positioned to benefit from the rise in solar energy and the new jobs it creates. The media outlet states that Ohio ranked 11th among states with the most new solar capacity in the first quarter of 2012. The higher amount of product installations has helped put 6,000 Ohioans to work, part of the state's renewable energy workforce that is now 35,000 people strong.
The growth doesn't stop there. Spanish solar panel manufacturer Isofoton is currently constructing a new $31 million facility in Ohio that will employ 330 people upon completion in November.
In nearby Iowa, the situation is much the same, with lawmakers calling out for more use of solar energy. According to the McClatchy Tribune, Iowa State Senator Rob Hogg has proposed a $3.1 million project to increase the use of solar energy at the University of Iowa.
"Clearly we need to make more investments in renewable energy," he said. "We've barely got our toes in the water where solar is concerned, and I think there's great opportunity."
With more workers needed, staffing firms are offering their services to find the most qualified employees. For example, leading staffing agency Aerotek can provide all skill sets necessary for the design, permitting, construction and commissioning of a Solar system.
Aerotek will be exhibiting at Solar Power International Convention 2012 in Orlando, Florida from September 10 through the 13th at booth #2957.