As we pursue ambitious goals to increase solar energy deployment at the federal, state, and local levels, IREC is advancing efforts to develop a diverse and highly qualified workforce to keep pace with demand. A new resource aims to equip job seekers, career counselors, and other workforce development professionals with a greater understanding of the solar jobs landscape and career development resources.

The new guide, Dynamic Careers in The Solar Industry: A Guide for Career Counselors and Job Seekers, covers national trends and projections for the solar workforce, offers detailed descriptions of high-demand, entry-level solar jobs, and describes advancement pathways that can lead to rewarding careers. The resource was created in partnership with the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) through the Solar Ready Vets Network

The solar industry has seen momentous development in recent years, and is on track for rapid expansion over the next decade and beyond. The industry currently employs almost a quarter of a million workers, and in order to meet the Biden Administration’s clean energy goals, the solar workforce will need to at least triple by 2035. As many solar companies, particularly in high-demand markets, prepare for growing project pipelines, this guide supports awareness and visibility of solar industry career pathways among broader education and workforce development networks, to help employers capture the diverse talent needed to power the industry through a pivotal decade.

Like the construction and electrical trades and many other parts of the U.S. economy, the solar industry is not as diverse or representative as it needs to be to be representative of the overall population. However, the good news is the industry is taking deliberate steps to realize a more inclusive and equitable future. The 2020 National Solar Jobs Census measured gains across nearly all demographic measures of diversity, with women now making up about a third of the solar workforce (significantly higher than the construction industry)  and veterans accounting for almost 10 percent (significantly higher than the overall U.S. economy).

The new guide includes profiles of several high-demand, entry-level solar roles with opportunities for advancement. While installers and electricians are the front lines of the solar workforce, the industry is supported by a wide range of administrative and business functions. Opportunities are quickly expanding for individuals with diverse skill sets, career interests, and backgrounds to help power a just transition toward a brighter future. Additional information on career pathways can be found in IREC’s Solar Career Map.

Workforce development professionals, career counselors, and job seekers may download the guide, “Dynamic Careers in the Solar Industry” here. You can visit the Solar Ready Vets Network homepage to learn more about opportunities for veterans, and visit IREC’s workforce development page for more information on our programs.