Employment of solar photovoltaic (PV) installers is projected to grow 24 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. However, because it is a small occupation, the fast growth will result in only about 1,200 new jobs over the 10-year period.
The rapid expansion and adoption of solar panel installation is expected to create new jobs. As the cost of PV panels and shingles continue to fall, more residential households are expected to take advantage of these systems, resulting in greater demand for the workers who install them.
The long-term outlook, however, is heavily dependent on government incentives, cost, and the continuing efficiency of PV panels. States and localities that provide incentives to reduce the cost of PV systems should experience greater demand for workers. Common incentives include tax rebates, direct subsidies, renewable energy purchase mandates, and net metering.
The development of solar leasing should create additional demand, as homeowners no longer must bear the upfront costs of installation.
PV installers who complete training at a 2-year technical school will have the best job opportunities.
Those with apprenticeship or journey electrician experience will also have very good job opportunities. Workers with experience in construction occupations, such as laborers, roofers, and carpenters will have better job opportunities than those without construction experience.
Employment of PV installers fluctuates with the overall economy. On the one hand, there is great demand for PV installers during peak periods of building activity. On the other hand, workers may experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of construction falls.
There is less maintenance performed by many PV installers as compared to other construction occupations, so most work should be for installation and not maintenance.