Looking to step up your workforce game? There’s a resource for that. 

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Solar Training and Hiring Insights explores the workforce challenges presented by rapid industry growth, and outlines the business case for investment in work-based learning. It emphasizes the importance of practical experience, particularly for the installation sector, and explores the relative value of industry certification as workforce demand varies by region. 

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Strategies for Workforce Development addresses the information gaps identified by Training and Hiring Insights, centered around themes of workforce development and work-based learning. With a implementation guide, case studies, and best practices, we outline actionable, collaborative solutions for the industry to better align education with evolving workforce needs.

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A group of Solar Training Network members from across the industry weighed in on workforce development innovations and trends. Despite representing diverse markets and roles, many common themes emerged, underscoring the value of coordinated information sharing and adaptive workforce initiatives.

 

Affiliate Industry Resources

The latest Solar Jobs Census found that 250,271 Americans work in solar as of 2017. This is a 3.8% decline, or about 9,800 fewer jobs, since 2016, marking the first time that jobs have decreased since the first Solar Jobs Census was released in 2010. At the same time, the long-term trend continues to show significant growth. The solar workforce increased by 168% in the past seven years, from about 93,000 jobs in 2010 to over 250,000 jobs in 2017.

The Solar Foundation

The 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) finds that the Traditional Energy and Energy Efficiency sectors today employ approximately 6.4 million Americans. These sectors increased in 2016 by just under 5 percent, adding over 300,000 net new jobs, roughly 14% of all those created in the country.

U.S. Department of Energy

The Solar Foundation’s 2017 U.S. Solar Industry Diversity Study is the first comprehensive research on diversity in the solar workforce, including the representation of women, minority groups, and veterans. This study is the result of surveys and interviews conducted with both solar employers and employees.

The Solar Foundation

By having a more diverse workforce, the solar industry and your organizations will be enhanced through broadened recruitment pools, increased retention and a more engaged, productive and fulfilled workforce. This guide is designed to assist solar companies with the practical application and implementation of diversity initiatives.

Solar Energy Industries Association

Through primary research on the U.S. solar installation employer base, this report seeks to address that gap, improving policymakers’ and other solar stakeholders’ understanding of both the evolving needs of these employers and the economic opportunity associated with solar market development. Included are labor market data covering current U.S. employment, expected industry growth, and employer skill preferences for solar installation-related occupations.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

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Career Development Resources

Are you a solar worker or considering becoming one? Did you know that most solar jobs don’t require a college degree? With low barriers to entry and opportunities for advancement, an entry-level solar job can become a bright and powerful career. Check out these resources to learn more.

IREC Solar Career Map illustrates 40 jobs over general categories (manufacturing, system design, project development, installation and  operations) with over 60 distinct potential routes of advancement and describes education requirements, skill sets, median income, and advancement pathways.

Interstate Renewable Energy Council

Chart your path with A&R’s solar careers flowchart. Are you a big-picture thinker or prefer the details? Enjoy working with customers, or a computer? You could be a great fit for system design, installation tech, or project management — find out what kind of solar job is right for you.

A&R Solar

This document was developed to provide an overview of some of the basic requirements for solar photovoltaic (PV) system installations and those who design, install, and maintain them. The guide is organized according to the NABCEP PV Installation Professional Job Task Analysis (PVIP JTA), an industry developed and validated outline of the tasks involved in the design, installation, and maintenance of PV systems.

North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners

This resource guide is intended to help those that meet the eligibility requirements to prepare for the NABCEP PV Technical Sales Exam. The format of this guide follows the Job Task Analysis (JTA) for the PV Technical Sales Certification and offers the Resource Guide Committee’s best recommendations for materials that may be useful to candidates in preparing for the examination.

North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners

Looking for training to accelerate your solar career?

Training Opportunities from Our Partners

Solar Energy International offers Programa Hispano: a suite of Spanish language renewable energy training, as well as on-demand Continuing Education webinars, a Solar Professionals Trainer Certificate, an OSHA-sponsored safety program, and more.
GRID Alternatives improves access to solar opportunities for underrepresented communities. Check out volunteer installation training, Women in Solar, SolarCorps Fellowship, Solar Futures K-14 curriculum, Troops to Solar, and Solar Spring Break.

More of a visual learner? Check out these videos .