The Expanding World of Solar Professionals
The solar industry is rapidly evolving to meet the growing demand for both residential solar and commercial solar systems. As a clean energy, the U.S. government as well as local mayors advocate for solar power. The statistics across the last two decades show the once-niche trend for a few rooftop solar panels is now commonplace.
With the adoption of solar systems in homes, businesses, and utility solar power, there is rising demand for solar contractors for the installation process, and solar professionals in sales, logistics, and the utility sector.
At Valve+Meter Performance Marketing, our team specializes in helping your solar company. Our strategists examine the numbers and data to understand markets and evolving industries.
In this blog post, let’s dive into the numbers about how many solar professionals are there in the US. And we’ll examine what roles they fill from the installation of a single solar system to planning and maintaining the complex solar utility emerging across the nation.
How Has Solar Employment Grown Since 2010?
A decade-plus of progress in the solar industry is evident from the growth in solar jobs – from 93,000 in 2010 to more than 230,000 in recent years according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). This growth spans various sectors including sales, development, manufacturing, and operations, showcasing the diverse opportunities in the solar industry.
The Current Landscape of Solar Employment in the U.S.
The solar industry in the U.S. has been growing at an unprecedented rate since 2010.
According to the 13th annual National Solar Jobs Census, the U.S. solar industry employs 263,883 solar workers as of 2022, marking a 3.5% increase since 2021. This upward trend signifies a bright future for solar professionals.
But who exactly are the solar professionals? Beyond the familiar faces of solar installers, electricians, and sales consultants, there’s a whole world of expertise driving the industry.
The solar industry’s scope extends far beyond installation. Behind the scenes, a diverse array of engineers and scientists are relentlessly pushing the boundaries of solar technology. They delve into research and development, working on advanced solar panels and innovative solar storage solutions. Their work is crucial, laying the groundwork for future advancements and ensuring that the solar systems installed today are not just efficient but also at the cutting edge of technology.
These include government researchers and employees within the private sector.
Jobs within the manufacturing of solar PV is also on the rise. In January 2023, Qcells invested $2.5 billion to build a complete solar supply chain within the United States. This investment is projected to add 2,500 jobs alone. Other leading solar manufacturers in the US include First Solar, Silfab Solar, Jinko Solar, and Mission Solar.
In essence, the solar industry in the US is a rich tapestry of various skills and roles, all converging towards a common goal: harnessing the power of the sun to create a sustainable and energy-independent future. This dynamic blend of professions and expertise underscores the vitality and diversity of the solar workforce, making it an exciting and promising field for current and aspiring professionals.
How Many Solar Panel Installation Businesses Are There In the U.S.?
Let’s dive deeper into the residential solar sector specifically, the solar panel installation businesses. As of 2023, IBIS World reports, there are 10,875 Solar Panel Installation businesses in the US, growing at an average of 1.6% per year since 2018.
In the first quarter of 2023, the US solar industry installed 6.1 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity. This was followed by a 35% YoY increase in the third quarter of 2023 when an additional 6.5 GW were installed.
As supply chains recover and demand increases, there is likely to be more locally-owned solar panel installation companies emerging. And the growth across this segment of the industry will need contractors and skilled professionals.
Consider the statistics on a few of the leading solar panel installation companies according to EnergySage:
- Sunrun: 130,000 solar customers in 22 states
- Vivint Solar: 100,000 customers in 21 states
- Sunnova: Serves 21 states
- SolarCity (Tesla Energy): Serves 28 states
While a solar system installed may seem like a proven process, many homes, businesses, and electrical grids were not designed for solar power.
What Is A Solar Consultant?
Enter the role of solar consultant. These solar professionals are experts in a broad range and integral to nearly every solar company.
The goal of this role is to help homeowners understand residential solar, businesses incorporate solar power, or organizations successfully adopt solar energy solutions.
Responsibilities can include:
- Expert Advice and Planning: Assessing sites and needs of homes or businesses including system size and type.
- Financial Analysis and Incentives: In a complex industry filled with tax credits and incentives, a solar consultant navigates the costs and return on investment of systems.
- Technical Guidance: Technology rapidly advances and many materials are unfamiliar to consumers. A solar consultant explains the best advancements to suit the application of the customer.
- Sustainability Advocacy: They often advocate for renewable energy adoption and help raise awareness about the environmental benefits of solar power. A solar consultant may work independently, for a solar company, or within a government/municipal role.
In summary, a solar consultant is a guide and advisor in the journey toward adopting solar energy, combining technical expertise with customer service to help clients make informed decisions and seamlessly transition to solar power.
The Bright Future of Solar Professionals
The rise in solar professionals in the US underscores the industry’s vibrant future. In the United States, the renewable energy generation industries including solar, wind, traditional, and low-impact hydropower employ over 546,630 workers.
From the impressive rise in solar jobs since 2010 to the burgeoning solar panel installation businesses, it’s clear that solar power is not just a trend, but a sustainable revolution. Behind every solar panel installation lies a diverse range of skilled professionals – from installers and engineers to the pivotal role of solar consultants. These individuals are the driving force behind the adoption of solar energy in residential and commercial sectors, working tirelessly to advance technology and promote sustainability.
Are You A Solar Professional Making Your Mark?
Valve+Meter Performance Marketing recognizes the vibrant potential of this industry and is dedicated to aiding solar companies in navigating these expanding horizons. Our expertise in analyzing market trends and evolving industries positions us uniquely to support your solar business’s growth.