Renewable Jobs Outlook to 2020

Brian Hicks

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted October 26, 2012

CleanEdison Inc. released a report suggesting that domestic job growth in the solar industry will outstrip that of the wind sector, driven largely by still-falling solar panel prices. Wind, by contrast, remains in an uncertain limbo as the expiration of a federal tax credit inches closer.

According to the report detailed by Bloomberg, 36,600 technical employees will be involved in the U.S. solar industry in 2020, representing an increase of about 24 percent since 2010. The wind sector, in contrast, will only grow to 27,700 jobs, roughly 14 percent.

Solar energy is steadily becoming a major player across the country,as 3.9 GW of panels are expected to be installed in 2013.

This sort of expansion is driving up the need for qualified workers. And the cheap prices of panels means companies like SolarCity Corp., which filed for IPO earlier in October, stand to benefit greatly.

Over the last 12 months, solar panel prices have declined by almost 29 percent.

Meanwhile, more than 3,000 people have lost their jobs in the wind sector this year alone, as companies expect turbine installations to be reduced by 88 percent if the federal tax credit is not renewed. Demand for turbines has already started to slow.

Vestas (CPH: VWS), for example, recently announced it would cut 1,600 jobs in the U.S.

All things considered, investors are shifting toward solar, and the sector is bound to see further growth.

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