Solar industry requires variety of job skills


The solar industry has been a bright spot during this gloomy recession, and many people think it will continue to add jobs.

The good thing is that a wide variety of positions are available because the industry requires more than sales agents and installers.
Liz Merry, owner of Verve Solar Consulting in Davis, talked about the employment picture at a recent workshop sponsored by San Diego-based California Center for Sustainable Energy.

She thinks government programs and desire to cut energy bills will spur the retrofit part of the industry 300% over the next few years.

"Look up, down and across the solar industry value chain for where to position yourself," she told participants.
Merry, according to the write-up by CCSE, said job seekers should A/ Understand the solar industry and its opportunities, from subcontractractors doing housing retrofits to utilities; B/ figure out how to adapt your skills to solar; C/ Seek out training programs, from communities colleges to union and educational centers; D/ Attend conferences, workshops and network.

Her research is in addition to a recent federal study that the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization recently posted on its Web site. That research projects a four-fold increase in green-energy employment by 2020.

Then there is a study by Duke University and Georgia Institute of Technology that says energy-efficiency programs in North Carolina could create more than 30,000 jobs and slash power bills $3.8 billion.

The SJVCEO is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping make the eight-county San Joaquin Valley a leader in energy efficiency and all things green.

Photo by Paul Chinn/San Francisco Chronicle