The solar energy industry is booming. Since 2008, the amount of solar energy connected to the grid has increased more than 20 fold, reaching 27.4 GW today. This expansion has resulted in the creation of thousands of new solar industry jobs, with more than 208,000 people currently employed and projections of major growth in the future. Solar is the next great American industry.
The SunShot Initiative is supporting this growing solar workforce with training programs, professional development and career building. See below for a list of resources.
Solar Career Map
Use the Solar Career Map to explore 40 jobs across four industry sectors and identify more than 60 routes to advancement between them. Additional opportunities for progress and promotion can be found within any given occupation on the map, and multi-sector pathways reinforce the idea of lifelong learning and the natural evolution of skills and interests. Click the image below to access the brand new Solar Career Map.
The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is the most respected, well-established, and widely recognized certification organization for solar professionals, offering entry level knowledge assessment, professional certification, and company accreditation programs to renewable energy professionals. The SunShot Initiative awarded funding to NABCEP to develop three new industry-validated personnel certifications for individuals working in photovoltaic (PV) operations and maintenance and in mid-scale PV system design and installation. Learn more about the new certifications.
Solar Training Network
The SunShot Initiative created the Solar Training Network to address the critical need for high-quality, local, accessible training in solar installation and related skills. The network allows for greater connection between solar employers, trainers and training institutions, workforce investment boards, and trainees and job seekers in order to meet ever-changing market demands, especially in regions where solar energy is rapidly expanding. The infrastructure developed by the network will make significant contributions toward achieving President Obama’s goal of training 75,000 workers in solar by 2020.
An earlier version of the program helped to increase the number of qualified PV instructors at the community college level, develop solar training for building and electrical inspectors, and create a comprehensive system linking training and credentialing for the solar workforce across residential, commercial, and utility-scale PV installation activities.
Learn more about the Solar Training Network.
Solar Ready Vets®
The Solar Ready Vets® pilot program launched in 2014 to connect our nation’s skilled veterans to the solar energy industry, preparing them for careers as solar photovoltaic (PV) system installers, sales representatives, system inspectors, and other solar-related occupations. The pilot program targets active military personnel who are within a few months of leaving military service.Veterans are a great fit for these positions because they are disciplined, motivated, and technically savvy.
By the end of 2016, Solar Ready Vets will expand to offer training programs on 10 military bases. Learn more about Solar Ready Vets and see where training programs currently operate.
The SunShot Grid Engineering for Accelerated Renewable Energy Deployment (GEARED) program is a research, training and education framework that grows the expertise and preparedness of current and future electric utility sector professionals so they have the knowledge and skills required to operate our country’s electric grid with high penetrations of solar electricity and other distributed technologies. The program established training consortia consisting of multiple university, utility, national laboratory, and industry partners that work toward integrating power systems analysis and R&D into curriculum, short course development, and continuing education at the undergraduate and graduate level. Learn more.
Real Estate Professionals Training
Elevate Energy received funding from the SunShot Initiative to educate residential real estate agents, appraisers, and appraiser regulatory officials about solar energy systems through web-based, continuing education classes. The training teaches these professionals how to correctly identify critical characteristics of solar energy systems, how to account for solar in multiple listing service systems, and how to use this information to correctly support the fair valuation of homes with solar installations. Learn more.