There are currently more than 143,000 jobs in solar power in the United States. With emphasis on renewable energy, that number is expected to rise exponentially in the future, according to solar training school RSI. When taking into consideration the current and the future job market, a job working in some capacity in the solar energy sector is a good choice.
With two years of technical school training, a person could be a solar installer and make around $26,000, and with the same training and some years of experience, an Advance Mechanical Assembler could earn nearly $50,000. With an associate’s degree and at least three years of experience, an electrician with solar expertise could make more than $45,000 a year and a solar PV technician could earn $62,270. With a bachelor’s degree and five years’ experience in the solar industry, an industrial engineer can earn just over $75,000, a mechanical engineer nearly $79,000, an electrical engineer just over $83,000, and a solar installation contractor can earn just over $82,000, according to RSI.
So where in America are these jobs? Fortunately, with the savings of solar, the installation incentives, and the cost of solar panels decreasing yearly, these jobs can be found in just about any region of the United States. Here are the top five solar producing states:
The top solar energy producing state is, not surprisingly, California. As of 2012 there were more than 600,000 homes in the state that used at least some energy produced by solar panels. That is more than 60% more than the next closest state on the list, according to SEIA. Currently, California receives more than 6% of its energy from the sun, and that number will only increase they have a law says utility companies will have to get 33% of their power from renewable energy by 2020, according to The Seattle Times.
The second state in the top five for solar production is Arizona. In 2012, Arizona installed more utility scale solar units than any other state, and it produced over 710 MW of energy. Arizona has the largest solar power plant in the world, and they will sell power to California. This power plant will produce enough solar electricity to operate an estimated 230,000 homes, according to Forbes.
Perhaps some people would be surprised that New Jersey produces the third most solar energy in the United States, but it is the Garden State after all. The increase in solar production in New Jersey has caused utility prices to decline, statewide, by 20% from 2011 to 2012, according to the SEIA infographic. Not content with a good thing for consumers and the environment, New Jersey has a goal of seeing 22.5% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, and in September 2014, they introduced a bill that would require 80% of all electricity used in the state to be from renewable sources, according to NJ Spotlight.
Nevada is the number four state in the United States in the production of solar power. Nevada is also number two in the U.S. for the number of watts produced by solar energy per capita, says SEIA. Currently, Nevada has a “solar farm” that is a 250-megawatt plant, but, in late summer of 2014 they began working on another 250-megawatt project near Primm, Nevada of which a large portion of the energy will be sold to California.
Finally, the fifth largest solar producing state in the United States is North Carolina. North Carolina has been slow to bounce back from the recession, and an increased number of solar farms have brought in more jobs, more revenue for employees of solar companies, and a chance to attract more eco-friendly businesses to the state, according to fayobserver.com.
Ultimately, solar is growing rapidly across the nation as a way to help the environment, and as a way to decrease expenses for various corporations. This means that if a person is looking for a good career to get into, solar energy is one of the fastest growing, and it appears that it will be important to America and the economy for a long time in the future.
Audrey Clark is a freelance blogger covering a range of topics from careers and finance to travel and leisure, along with everything in-between. When not writing, she’s always on the lookout for her next adventure. Connect with Audrey on Twitter and Google+.