January 1, 2020

FUTURE SO BRIGHT:

WANT A JOB IN THE FUTURE? TURN YOUR FACE TO THE SUN (Dan Peleschuk, 1/01/20, OZY)

Fixing solar photovoltaic panels (or "PV panels") on rooftops has the highest projected growth rate that doesn't require more than a high school education and professional certification -- yet pays at least $40,000 a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Right behind it is a wind turbine service technician, which requires more advanced education. Solar power is by far the fastest-growing field of renewable energy, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says. It's projected to generate 700 gigawatts by 2024, compared to around 350 gigawatts from onshore wind. (For reference, it takes 3.125 million PV panels to produce just 1 gigawatt.)

Most U.S. companies on the lookout for potential installers have two things in mind, says Larry Sherwood, president and CEO of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council: a solid work ethic and a willingness to climb roofs. Firms are often willing to train candidates on the rest. What's more, he says, there's a wide variety of options within that subfield, from residential homes and commercial locations to major industrial sites. "There are lots of different scales and job opportunities," Sherwood says. These days, an average solar panel system costs around $12,500, but prices have dropped and are expected to continue dropping, expanding the potential pool of consumers.

That trend is reflected around the world. Because solar power is cheaper and less labor-intensive than wind energy, the entry barrier is correspondingly lower. Theoretically, that allows small-time investors or even entrepreneurial individuals in Africa, for example, to install a single panel to power a household. "Or you can build a power plant of 500 megawatts in the middle of a desert in Chile. So we are talking about a huge range which actually unlocks a lot of potential investors and a lot of jobs," says Heymi Bahar, a renewable energy analyst at the IEA.

We're gonna need a lot more immigrants.

Posted by at January 1, 2020 7:42 AM

  

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