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Rachel Myslivy

Solar Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!

4 years ago | Nov 09, 2015
By: Rachel Myslivy, Program Director

What do Bloomberg, General Motors, and Ikea think about solar?  Three words:  jobs, jobs, jobs!  


Global Renewable Energy Employment Surge

Green jobs are steadily growing globally and nationally.  According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), 7.7 million people will be employed in renewable energy globally in 2015, up 18% from 6.5 in 2014.  Solar Photovoltaics are leading the way in global RE job growth, with PV sector jobs tripling since 2011 to reach an estimated 2.5 million jobs. While China has the highest rate of employment in renewable energy at 3,390,000, the United States ranks third with 724,000 jobs in renewable energy.  Access to affordable, reliable clean energy creates jobs both directly and indirectly, while also reducing greenhouse gases and other environmental pollution worldwide.   

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Steady Solar Employment Growth in the U.S.

The National Solar Jobs Census reports that solar employment grew by 86% in 2014, representing over 80,000 new workers.  This growth is expected to continue, driven by the massive demand for solar energy over the last ten years.  The transition to clean energy is a win-win; as the prices go down, the jobs go up, and Kansas has awesome potential to get in on the action.


For the second year straight, solar employment growth was near or above 20%, while also exceeding projections from the previous year.  At the time of the report’s release, January 2015, solar companies expected to hire a total of 36,000 new solar workers.  Jobs in solar are good paying jobs, too, with the average wage of $20-24 per hour for installers.

Opportunities for Veterans

Thanks to the Solar Jobs Training Network job training programs at community colleges, veterans are receiving training for jobs in the solar industry.  Three military bases – Camp Pendleton, Fort Carson, and Naval Station Norfolk provide 4-six weeks of intensive solar training courses at no cost, and active duty military can start this job training before they leave the service.  As an added bonus, U.S. Solar companies committed to interview all graduates from the program.  More than 30,000 students have received training, and the goal is to train 50K by 2020.  Nearly 17,000 veterans were employed by solar companies in January 2015, up 4,000 from the previous year.  With an estimated 290,000 new solar jobs by 2030, there’s plenty of opportunity for well-paying, highly skilled jobs for veterans.  

Solar Jobs in Kansas 

Solar jobs are growing from coast to coast.  The solar industry now employs twice as many Americans as the coal industry.  The Solar Foundation's State Solar Report ranks Kansas at 36 for solar jobs, with approximately 600 jobs.  Compared to Texas, which has lower solar potential, yet ranks sixth with 6,970 solar jobs, Kansas has great room for growth.  A quick job search resulted in almost 60 open positions in the solar industry in Kansas.  The solar industry is starting to take off in Kansas!


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