Although it may at first seem solar energy is on its way out in the U.S., with big name solar companies going out of business and others struggling to keep their heads above water, a recent report from the U.S. Department of Energy suggests otherwise.
With the growing number of solar installations in the country, many staffing firms are noting an increase in demand for workers related to the sector. For example, Aerotek, a leading provider of energy personnel, has started to help companies locate all skill sets necessary for the design, permitting, construction, and commissioning of a solar energy system.
These additional workers will be needed, as the number of installations continues to grow.
According to the DOE, the total amount of solar energy produced in the U.S. has taken off in the last two years, and is projected to continue to grow through 2013, when total generation could hit 18,000 megawatts. This, the DOE said, will present a "tremendous economic opportunity for the United States," which will be further supported by the SunShot Initiative. This program pumped $8 million in investments into the SunShot Incubator program, which supported nine startups as they looked to break into the solar market.
According to ABC News, the solar industry also recently reported its second-best quarter ever, and experts say there could be more solar energy produced in 2012 than in the 10-year period leading up to 2010.
In the second quarter of 2012, solar installation companies put in 772 megawatts' worth of solar electricity - a 125 percent increase from the same period last year. Monique Hanis, spokeswoman for Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), said there are currently roughly 5,600 U.S. solar companies in every state that are installing solar systems. This is driving a huge demand for energy staffing, and could be a major job creator in the coming years.