Going “green” is an ever-growing trend in the United States and across the globe. As nations switch to using renewable sources of energy, jobs are created in the sectors of wind, solar, and other environmentally friendly technologies. In fact, the U.S. government recently announced its commitment to funding training for clean energy jobs. Many vocational training schools are offering classes for careers in “green” industries.
Clean Energy Career Outlook
Clean energy jobs can be found in the private, public and nonprofit sectors of the economy. The main types of alternative energy fields that individuals can expect to work in are wind and solar; however, jobs can also be found working with geothermal energy, hydroelectric power and biodiesel. Overall, the use of clean energy has increased in recent years, and with it the number of jobs in these fields.
In 2014, construction and manufacturing activity related to wind energy production added 23,000 jobs to the U.S. economy, increasing the number of full-time workers employed in the field at the start of 2015 to 73,000. Some examples of jobs in wind technology include wind energy forecasting and resource assessment, wind data analyst, wind plant administrator and wind plant monitoring technician. There are also people needed to build wind turbines and to repair and maintain them, such as assemblers, welders and electricians.
Advances in solar energy technology and production are increasingly impacting the U.S. economy and environment. As of spring 2014, the industry employed nearly 175,000 Americans, contributing more than $15 billion a year to the economy and helping to offset CO2 emissions. Some jobs in this field include solar technician, and solar photovoltaic installer. Many vocational schools offer training for careers in the solar energy field.
Why Clean Energy Is Trending Upward
Clean energy is a growing field because people are realizing the damaging effects on the environment of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels. Many people want to make their homes and businesses more eco-friendly while at the same time saving money on their utility bills. For instance, there were more solar panels installed every three weeks in 2014 than there were in the entire year of 2008; this followed a 12 percent drop in the price of solar power in 2013. In other words, clean energy technology is becoming more affordable and obtainable for residential and commercial building owners in the U.S.
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The Department of Energy (DOE) aims to meet this demand by training 75,000 people to enter the solar workforce by 2020. In addition, the DOE will train military service personnel transitioning back to civilian life in its Solar Ready Vets program.